Do you have a severe, potentially life threatening allergy? Perhaps to a food like nuts or shellfish, an antibiotic or stinging insects like bees or jack jumper ants? If you need to carry an EpiPen or other adrenaline autoinjector, do you also need to wear an allergy medical alert ID? It’s a really sensible idea and one to discuss with your doctor.
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Why you should wear a medical alert ID
It’s easy to think that you will be able to tell first responders or doctors about your own or your child’s allergies. Unfortunately accidents happen. There might be a time when you can’t provide the information that is needed in an emergency. First responders and emergency care workers are trained to look for medical alert ID. Wearing one can save precious time in an emergency by providing quick access to information about your allergies. And help with correct diagnosis and treatment. It can also provide vital emergency contact information.
Apart from emergencies, medical alert bracelets can also be a helpful tool for allergy awareness and to help keep you or your child safe. An allergy medical alert ID bracelet can help to quickly identify a food allergy and prevent mistakes being made when your child is in the care of others.
Medical alerts can also be a good idea for people with asthma.
What types of ID are available
We are currently in the market for a medical alert bracelet for a drug allergy, so I have been doing a lot of research about what is available. In the past I thought medical alerts were all the same – the classic metal bracelet with a medical alert symbol. These days there are a lot more options for both adults and children. Different styles appeal to different tastes, but they all help to keep people with allergies safe.
Traditional medical alert ID bracelets
Medical alert bracelets have been around for a long time now. You are probably familiar with the traditional stainless steel (or gold) bracelets with a curb link chain.
I have family and friends who have opted for this traditional bracelet style. It’s unobtrusive and classic. Wearing it on the wrist means that it is immediately obvious to a first responder or medical staff in the case of an allergy emergency.
- Mediband sell a classic stainless steel bracelet with a red medical alert symbol with personalised engraving included in the purchase price. You can also purchase a wallet card to go with this bracelet which can include more details about your allergies and who to contact in case of emergency. Mediband also sell other styles of bracelet in both stainless steel and gold plate. Upgrade to medibandPlus membership to record your important medical information and allergies in a secure online portal for access by first responders in an emergency.
- The MedicAlert Foundation also offer stainless steel and gold plated bracelets for sale, with or without MedicAlert Membership. For an annual fee, membership provides for 24/7 access to an emergency response service that keeps your medical details on file. Visit the MedicAlert website for more information and to check out the range of medical ID styles available.
Allergy alert necklaces or dog-tags
Some people prefer a necklace or dog tag style medical alert. It can be a good option for adults that need an alert but don’t want to have it on display. For example, my friend’s husband prefers the dog tag style to alert medical staff to his severe drug allergy without it being visible every day at work. First responders also know to look for this type of medical alert ID in an emergency.
This stainless steel heart pendant with medical icon is ready to be engraved with your personalised alert and comes with the matching chain. Or this stainless steel black onyx coloured dog tag style is very cool. Both have the medical Star of Life icon which makes them instantly recognisable to emergency responders as medical alert IDs.
Silicone wrist bands
The silicone wrist band style is a fantastic modern alternative to the traditional jewellery style medical alert ID. What I love about the silicone style, apart from the variety of colours, is that they are:
- easily cleaned or sterilised;
- made with soft, rounded and flexible edges that are less likely to catch on things and are designed to safely break and snap under force.
These features make silicone bands a great choice for children and for anyone involved in sport and outdoor activities.
A silicone band can also be a good option if you have a nickel allergy and are looking for a nickel free medical alert bracelet.
Mediband sells a range of pre-printed bands for various allergies (common food allergies, medications like penicillin, bee stings etc) and asthma. Or you can customise your own. Another flexible option is the reversible write on medical bracelet, which has an allergy alert on one side and space to write on your own allergy information or contact details on the inside.
If I had to chose one for myself, I’d go with the Mediband Active X silicone band, probably in white. This has the silicon band with an engravable stainless steel badge. The simple, sporty look appeals to me. It looks very similar to my fitness tracker and they’d work well side by side. I can also imagine getting it in a couple of different colours to suit my mood or what I was wearing. Just because something is a functional medical aid doesn’t mean it can’t look good too!
Medical alert ID options for children
We invested in an Allerbling Food Allergy Awareness Bracelet for our child when he was younger. This is a 100% silicone wristband specifically for children with food allergies. Allerbling comes with two different size orange wristbands which can be customised with food allergy “charms”. The attractive fun icons appeal to children, but also easily identify food allergies. Allerbling comes with a set of 8 common food allergy charms and a medical alert charm. We did need to purchase an extra one for sesame allergy. By the time our son started school he was a bit too old for the styling and the Allerbling bracelet was passed on to another family. That said, I still think it is a good option for younger children and especially those who are in childcare or regularly looked after by others. You can buy the Allerbling Food Allergy Awareness Bracelet online from Amazon.
Mediband’s pre-printed allergy bands or the customisable write on silicone medical alert bracelet mentioned earlier are another great option for active kids. The wristbands come in small size (recommended for children under 6 years of age) and medium (recommended for children under 12). This is the option we would chose now. The fact that they are so easy to clean and snag safe are important factors to me as a parent. And the comfort factor and choice of colours would certainly make it easier to get children to wear them!
MedicAlert also sell a number of bracelets in their range (including stainless steel, nylon fabric sports bands and silicone bands) in smaller sizes suitable for children.
Make wearing your allergy medical alert ID a daily habit
Of course it’s not enough to have the medical alert ID, you need to wear it. All the time. Make it a habit to put it on at the same time as you put on your watch or fitness tracker. Or keep it in the same place you store your EpiPen bag as a reminder to put it on. You definitely should be taking your two EpiPens with you everywhere, so you won’t forget the ID.
Children can sometimes be reluctant to wear a medical bracelet. If you get them involved in choosing one in their favourite colour or style, this will definitely help.
As well as wearing your allergy medical alert ID, make sure you also set up your emergency medical information and contacts on your phone. Learn more about how to do this here – How to share emergency allergy medical ID on your phone. Another great idea is to use an EpiPen bag tag or key chain, to help first responders know where to find your EpiPen in an emergency – 10 best EpiPen bag tag styles for all ages.
And if you are new to EpiPens, make sure to check out our guide – Making friends with your EpiPen.
If you don’t yet have an allergy medical alert ID, or are in the market for a new one, Mediband are offering 5% off for all Allergy Spot readers. Just enter the code AS22-MBAFF01 at checkout.