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Medical Alert Bracelets: Why You Need One and How It’s Different from a Medical Alert System

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Medical Alert Bracelets: Why You Need One and How It’s Different from a Medical Alert System

What is a medical alert bracelet? Also known as medical ID bracelets, medical alert bracelets are designed to provide first response personnel with important information regarding your health. In an emergency, you may be unable to communicate the details of your medical conditions, medications you take, or any severe allergies you have. Medical alert bracelets speak on your behalf to relay this vital information that could potentially save your life.

Discover why a medical ID is suitable for you, where you can find stylish medical alert bracelets, and learn the key difference between a medical alert bracelet and a medical alert system.

Who Needs a Medical Alert Bracelet?

If you have an illness that might cause a medical emergency or may render you unable to speak, it is essential that you wear some sort of medical ID. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Diabetes

  • Epilepsy

  • Dementia

  • Asthma

  • Heart Conditions


  • Autism

  • Severe allergies to certain foods or medications

There may be other conditions not listed here in which a medical alert bracelet is necessary. Talk to your doctor about your health concerns and discuss what is right for you.

Some healthcare professionals suggest everyone with a severe allergy, medical condition, or those taking any prescription drugs wear medical IDs. Medications can interact with particular treatment protocols such as IV drugs or other invasive procedures. To prevent any life-threatening adverse effects, EMTs and first responders must know which conditions you have and which medications you are taking. In addition, NOT wearing a medical ID when you have a chronic illness may lead to:

  • Misdiagnosis of symptoms

  • Delaying appropriate treatment

  • Increased severity of minor emergencies

  • Unnecessary hospitalization

  • For mental health illnesses - miscommunication with first responders may lead to law enforcement involvement.

Engravable Medical Alert Bracelets

So what should you engrave on medical ID bracelets, or any ID jewelry, for that matter?

  • Your name

  • Medical conditions

  • Food and drug allergies

  • Medications you are currently taking

Also, be sure to include any relevant information that can impact the way first responders treat you. For instance, if you have a medical device such as a pacemaker or if you have a DNR request in place. Many healthcare professionals also advise you to include emergency contacts such as family members, close friends, or someone with Durable Power of Attorney over your health. Here is a complete guide on what to include on a medical ID.

Different Styles of Medical IDs

There are many different styles of medical IDs. Most emergency responders are trained to look for medical IDs worn as a necklace or bracelet. Many people who wear medical alert jewelry also carry a backup ID, such as a wallet card or phone medical ID. These are convenient to have in case you forget to put on your medical alert jewelry. Most people carry a wallet and a phone on them anyway, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything. But, as mentioned above, first responders are trained to look for medical alert bracelets and necklaces. Your safest bet is to wear your medical alert jewelry every day.

Stylish Medical Alert Bracelets

Stylish medical alert bracelets can be fashionable and functional. If you have an allergy to cosmetic jewelry or have sensitive skin, there are many options available in real gold (10k-14k) or sterling silver.

Stylish Emergency ID Necklaces

Some people don’t like wearing anything on their wrists. If this is you, don’t worry, there are many stylish options available in necklaces.

The Difference Between Medical ID Jewelry and Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems come with call buttons that can also be worn as necklaces, so it can be easy to confuse the purpose of a medical alert bracelet with that of a medical alert system. Understanding the difference is critical for your health.

Bottom line, medical ID jewelry provides critical healthcare information, and medical alert systems send help.

Medical IDs are valuable in any crisis but only provide health information once emergency help arrives. On the other hand, medical alert systems help the wearer contact emergency help. At the press of a help button, an alarm is immediately sent to a 24-hour, U.S.-based emergency call center where an operator usually has instant access to the user’s basic medical history and emergency contacts. Operators can either call a friend, family member, or emergency services based on specific needs.

Medical alert systems are most commonly used by older adults living independently. Seniors can call for help at the press of a button even if they cannot reach a phone.

Which Is Right For You?

Now that you understand what a medical alert ID is and what a medical alert system does, you may be wondering which is right for you. The answer does not have to be an either/or situation. Many seniors and people with illnesses benefit significantly from both, depending on their individual needs. Others find that they are comfortable with just a medical alert bracelet.

Talk to your doctor about your specific conditions and discuss what is best for you. Also, discuss these concerns with your loved ones. Their opinions are valuable, and they may be able to assist in this critical healthcare decision that could one day save your life.

If you want to learn more about Medical Alert Bracelets, contact Campbell County Health’s Home Medical Resources department.

Home Medical Resources' staff here at CCH is committed to helping people live better lives by offering the best medical technology, supplies and service. Home Medical Resources also provides pickup and delivery service for most medical equipment. We take the time to ensure that when your equipment arrives, a staff member is available to assist with set-up, education and adjusting to the equipment. Contact us today at 307-688-6260.