For people living with epilepsy, seizures can come at any time and occur anywhere — at school or work or while traveling. Depending on where you are when a seizure occurs, the people around you might not recognize what’s happening or know what steps to take. This can be dangerous because, if you don’t receive proper care, you could be injured while having a seizure.
An epilepsy bracelet, or other form of medical identification, lets people around you know the appropriate course of action in the event of a seizure.
How can a medical ID help? What types of medical ID are available? Is wearing one right for you? Read on for three important reasons why you or your loved one might consider wearing an epilepsy bracelet.
An epilepsy bracelet is used to communicate to others that you have epilepsy and to provide directions on what to do if you have a seizure.
If you or a loved one is living with epilepsy, you know how challenging recurrent seizures can be. They can cause immobility or uncontrolled movement, injury, or confusion or render you unable to speak. An epilepsy bracelet is an important safety measure for people who have seizures. It not only lets others know you have epilepsy, but it also informs them of other vital information, such as any medications you’re taking to manage your epilepsy.
However, seizures don’t necessarily require emergency medical attention — especially for people diagnosed with epilepsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it may not be necessary to call emergency services if:
Talk to your doctor about when it might be appropriate for you or a loved one to seek emergency care for a seizure.
If you have a seizure but don’t have accessible medical identification with you, other people won’t know if the seizure is epileptic or if it was caused by something else. Wearing a medical ID can help those around you know how to respond to a seizure.
When a seizure does warrant emergency medical care, a bracelet or other form of medical ID can immediately inform first responders or emergency department staff about details of your condition.
Paramedics usually check if a person is carrying medical information, such as in their wallet or purse or on their phone. 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 epilepsy bracelets provide vital health information to others in the event of a seizure.
Generally, medical IDs are customized to reflect your unique health status. They often include medical information such as:
Having rapid access to this type of information can help ensure that health care providers give you the safest and most effective treatment possible. Knowing what medications you take can help them avoid drug dangerous interactions. If you have allergies to medications, it can prevent an allergic reaction. And if you take any maintenance medications to control other health conditions, having a medical ID can ensure you don’t miss a dose and thus risk other serious health consequences on top of a seizure.
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 people who don’t know about your condition. With a medical ID, you know that whatever happens, you’ll 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 effective ways to communicate about medical conditions in an emergency. Medical ID bracelets don’t require service or upkeep and don’t 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.
The cost of medical ID jewely depends on the style and seller. You can get a silicone bracelets for a few dollars, while a custom-engraved metal ID can cost $15 or more. You can also find free medical ID cards online to print at home.
Epilepsy jewelry is just one form of medical ID. There are many other options that might suit your needs.
Audio medical IDs are small audio recorders that clip onto your 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 a seizure, when you’re unable to 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, it’s important to keep in mind that medical information is confidential and should be stored and accessed securely. When shopping for a USB medical ID, look for options that include an encryption feature with proper security guarantees from the manufacturer.
Some people opt for medical ID tattoos — tattoos that provide the same identifying information as traditional medical IDs. As one member of MyEpilepsyTeam wrote, “My epilepsy bracelet keeps on breaking, and I have to buy a new one. I am thinking of having a tattoo that says I suffer from epilepsy.”
Talk to your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for you to get a tattoo.
You should also inform your tattoo artist that you have epilepsy. They may take precautionary measures to prevent you from injuring yourself in case you experience a seizure while getting the tattoo. This may not be an issue if your seizures are controlled, but if they’re uncontrolled and unpredictable, it may be better to wait until your epilepsy becomes more stable before getting 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 have 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 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.
MyEpilepsyTeam is the social network for people with epilepsy and their loved ones. On MyEpilepsyTeam, more than 111,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with epilepsy.
Do you wear a medical ID bracelet or carry another form of medical alert? Has it been useful to have? 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.