Asthma attacks can come at any time and occur anywhere — at school or work or while traveling. Depending on where you are when an attack occurs, the people around you might not always recognize what’s happening or know what steps to take. This can be dangerous because time is of the essence during a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
An asthma medical ID bracelet or another form of medical identification lets people around you know the appropriate course of action in the event of an asthma attack.
How can a medical ID help? What types of medical IDs are available? Is wearing one right for you? Read on for important reasons why you or your child with asthma might consider wearing a medical ID bracelet.
An asthma ID bracelet is used to communicate that you have asthma, as well as to provide directions on what can be done during an attack.
If you or your child is living with asthma, you know how frightening an attack can be. During an asthma attack, many people lose the ability to speak for themselves and ask for help. An asthma bracelet is an important safety measure that lets others know what’s going on and informs them of other vital information, such as any medications you take or allergies you have. Wearing a medical ID can help those around you know how to respond to an asthma attack.
In addition to a medical alert bracelet, your child’s doctor can provide you with an asthma action plan that can be on file with your child’s day care provider or school, as well as given to any babysitters. An asthma action plan lists asthma medications, including rescue medications, and explains when to seek emergency care.
When asthma warrants emergency medical care, a bracelet or another form of medical ID can immediately inform first responders or emergency department staff about the details of your or your child’s condition. Paramedics usually check for medical information on a person’s body, in a wallet or purse, and on their phones.
A survey conducted by American Medical ID found that more than 95 percent of respondents look for medical IDs during health emergencies. Medical IDs like asthma bracelets provide vital health information to others.
Generally, medical IDs are customized to reflect your unique health status. They often include medical information such as:
When health care providers can rapidly access this information, it can help them provide the safest and most effective treatment possible. Knowing what medications you or your child takes can help avoid dangerous interactions. If you have allergies to medications, it can prevent an allergic reaction that may make asthma symptoms worse. And if you take any maintenance medications to keep your health conditions under control, you can avoid missing a dose and risking other serious health consequences on top of the attack.
Obtaining a medical ID bracelet or other medical ID solution will help you feel more comfortable when you’re traveling to unfamiliar places or around others who don’t know about your condition.
If you have a child with asthma, any extra reassurance that they’ll be properly cared for can make it easier to cope with their diagnosis and allow them to be independent. For example, a child with exercise-induced asthma may be less anxious about participating in after-school sports or a physical activity when wearing a medical ID.
With a medical ID, you know that whatever happens, you or your child will be more likely to get the appropriate care in an emergency, and your contacts will be notified.
A medical ID bracelet is one of the easiest, most recognized, and most effective ways to communicate medical conditions in an emergency. Medical ID bracelets don’t require service or upkeep or have batteries that run out.
There are many additional options for medical IDs, including watches, necklaces, ID cards, tags, pendants, and key fobs. Most medical jewelry allows you to engrave the information of your choice, while others provide slots for paper inserts. In the United States, medical IDs usually have the Star of Life symbol, representing emergency medical services. This signifies the wearer has a medical condition that emergency services staff should note.
Depending on the style of jewelry and the seller, you can get a piece of medical ID jewelry for a few dollars for silicone bracelets or $15 or more for custom-engraved metal styles. You can also find free medical ID cards online to print at home.
When a child gets to choose the color or design of a medical ID bracelet, they may be more willing to wear it. Try to involve your child in the process as much as possible to help them get on board with the plan.
Asthma jewelry is just one form of medical ID. There are many other options that might suit your needs or those of your child.
Audio medical IDs are small audio recorders that clip onto clothing. They allow you to save information in an audio file for emergency responders to hear. You can record a message that includes details about first aid or any relevant medical information. In the event of an asthma attack when the individual can’t speak, first responders can easily press play to listen to your prerecorded information.
Another alternative is a USB device that holds your medical information, including PDFs of documents, which you can attach to a dog tag or wristband. With USB medical IDs, keep in mind that medical information is confidential and should only be stored and accessed securely. When looking to buy a USB medical ID, make sure it has an encryption feature with proper security guarantees from the manufacturer.
Some adults with asthma opt for medical ID tattoos — tattoos that provide the same identifying information as traditional medical IDs. Talk to your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for you to get a tattoo.
Some smartphones have features that let people access specific types of medical information from the lock screen. This allows medical professionals to see your health information without needing a password for your phone.
If you or your child with asthma has an iPhone, you can set up a smart medical ID by following these instructions. If you have an Android or other non-iOS phone, you may need to download an app. Simply search for “medical ID app” on the Google Play Store or your phone manufacturer’s app store.
Near-field communication (NFC) allows smartphones and other similar devices to communicate with other technologies and transfer information — including medical information — over short distances. If you have a wristband, wallet card, or key fob that uses NFC, medical personnel can access your medical information on a secure website in case of an emergency. This information can include anything you think would be important in a health emergency, including care plans, prescriptions, and medical documents.
MyAsthmaTeam is the social network for people with asthma and their caregivers and loved ones. On MyAsthmaTeam, more than 10,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with asthma.
Do you wear a medical ID bracelet or carry another form of medical alert? Has it been useful? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.
American Medical ID is proud to celebrate over 25 years of serving the chronic health community by offering personalized, custom-engraved medical ID jewelry. In an emergency, the jewelry allows medics or other medical professionals to give prompt, precise treatment. Leading physicians, pharmacists, educators, and hospitals endorse American Medical ID jewelry for people living with a chronic condition.