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Medical Identification Products

Health care and emergency personnel encourage people With diabetes to wear some form of medical identification. The reason is obvious: Such identification can save time in an emergency and may save your life.

Medical identifications provide emergency personnel with important information that allows them to act quickly-and in an emergency, every second counts.

Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) can be mistaken for drunkenness, and precious time can be lost.

Medical identifications that are easily seen can help in such situations. For instance, police officers who stop drivers usually ask for vehicle registration papers and proof of auto insurance. A wallet card with your medical information can be attached to these papers and will alert the officer to a medical emergency.

Like all your other diabetes supplies, the type of medical identification you choose should be based on your personal situation. Key factors include age, form of identification, costs, and the services provided with the tag.

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Medical identifications take many forms: wrist or ankle bracelets, necklace pendants or neck chains with dog tags, watch charms, shoe tags, iron-on tags, or wallet cards.

The key question to ask is: "Will I wear this particular form of identification all the time?" If you don't like necklaces, but always wear a watch, a watch tag may be the best choice.

Emergency personnel prefer medical identifications that are easy for them to find-without having to undress the individual. A shoe tag on a child's or adult jogger's lace-up shoe is easily seen. An ankle bracelet under a grown man's sock is not.

Necklaces, neck chains with pendants, and wrist bracelets are the first things emergency personnel look for, followed by watch charms and shoe tags. Most experts encourage people with diabetes to wear at least one form of medical identification and to keep a medical ID card in their wallets. Wallet cards are great back-ups, but they are not necessarily a good first line of defense. That's because you may be separated from your wallet in an emergency.

Several jewelry manufacturers are introducing all-silver or all gold medical identification jewelry. Some people prefer wearing such high-quality items.

However, medical identification items are meant to convey information in an emergency-so they need to be easily identified for what they are and not confused with regular jewelry.

It doesn't matter whether your medical identification is gold, silver, or plated. What is important is visibility and durability, because medical IDs are meant to be worn a11 the time.

Age

Everyone with diabetes should have a medical identification tag. This is particularly true for people who take insulin.

The user's age comes into play when choosing the form of the identification. For example, 12year-old Tommy could wear a neck chain and tag without a problem but his 2-year-old brother, Timmy, would be at risk for strangulation. Many parents of toddlers have found that ankle bracelets work well. The parents will also carry a medical ID wallet card for the child. Inexpensive tags and charms can be placed on sneakers, ice skate laces, snowsuit zippers, or jacket pulls. Children tend to leave these in place. Service  and cost. No matter what the form, medical identifications carry at least three pieces of information-your name, medical condition, and an emergency phone number for more information. Some simply say DIABETES, while still others carry the emergency number you choose, such as yours or your neighbor’s, while others carry a number that is staffed by emergency personnel 24 hours a day with your medical records and emergency numbers at hand.

Here are a few good questions to ask about the service rendered by your medical identification:

•  How often can my ID be updated and at what cost?

How much information can be placed on the ID initially?
(For example, if you have a child with diabetes and he or she spends half the week with your ex-spouse in another city, can both emergency phone numbers be included on the tag?)

Who will answer the emergency phone number-will it be a person with immediate access to your computerized medical records?
If you choose not to use this type of service, be certain to designate a person who can provide medical information or an emergency number where your medical records can be obtained.

Many children don't wear medical alert identification because it draws attention to their condition. The Beadin' Beagle now offers a fashionable alternative to the standard medical identification bracelet! For more styles go to www.beadin-beagle.com/kidsmedic.htm
Dr. R.M. Antuña de Alaiz
Educational Treatment Unit
education > taking control over your diabetes