Important ID for Invisible Illnesses (IIW 2011)

…Do you wear some sort of Medical ID for your Invisible Illness?…

Are you Diabetic, Epileptic, or Allergic?, to mention just 3 examples.

This is my 3rd and last post for Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2011, and I have chosen to write about the importance of wearing some kind of medical ID. I’m not advertising any particular brand or kind, there are many out there, and it is as much a matter of personal preference as it is of utmost importance. However, I have worn a MedicAlert bracelet for nearly 6 years now-as it was the one recommended to me by my Doctors, and as a charity, I choose to donate to their cause, (which is why I can display their logo in my sidebar). I support them because they are the only non-profit making, registered charity providing a life-saving identification system for individuals with hidden medical conditions and allergies.

And the clue in the above quote from their website, is in the word hidden.

You cannot look at me and see what allergies I have, what medications I am on and indeed, what (Invisible) Illness I suffer from. Therefore I carry and wear these:

If you are somebody who like me, refuses to be reclusive because of your Illness, and who wants to travel and have adventure in the big wide world, then really, wearing Medical ID is a no brainer.  Wear it or at the very least, carry it about your person: there is absolutely no knowing where you might be, and whether you’ll find yourself accompanied or alone when you are next taken ill, away from the safety of your home environment.

I once lost mine, and it was mailed back to me as the person who found it rung the company number on it and sent it back to them. I was so grateful I would have given a small, token reward!

These days, Paramedics are trained to first look for any ID-whether it be a bracelet or a necklace-and if yours is sensibly worded, it really could save your life.

On a personal note, the reasons I was strongly advised to wear Medical ID were because I am on permanent steroids, and this is a fact that needs to be known. I am also allergic to Penicillin, Aspirin and Ibuprofen, again this is fundamentally important, if I end up in need of emergency care. Plus, one of the medications I take for my lung illness needs to be monitored with regular blood tests, and I can become seriously ill if I am given too much of it-(something called a loading dose), in the ER.

We have worded mine so that all the drug names are in their generic, UK brand and USA branded names. We have also importantly added dosage instructions and blood level results for both countries. If like us you travel a lot, this is extremely important as the UK and USA measure several of my blood results on different scales-this is something I know would also be necessary for blood glucose levels in the case of a diabetic patient.

I have several whacky food allergies, and related illnesses-My severe form of wheat allergy-means there are many generic brands of paracetamol that I cannot be prescribed because they contain wheat. Most cough medicines are an attractive red colour, yet I am allergic to red food colouring and again, can only take certain brands. All of this information can be found by way of one phone call to the number on the back of my bracelet. It is also typed in a little more, but still succinct  detail on the wallet card that both of us carry. Plus, any doctor is able to retrieve the full and vital medical records and my entire Asthma Treatment Protocol through quoting my membership number.

I really do advise anybody with an Invisible Illness to wear some kind of medical ID. I believe this Awareness Week is not just about bringing to people’s attention the symptoms, circumstances, pain, anxiety and suffering of so very many people, but  is also a chance to share our various and varied experiences and to give advice on ways to live life to the full and self-help eachother.

….So this is just another one of my little gems of advice!-Get One! and wear it proudly-you’ve earned it!….


8 Responses to Important ID for Invisible Illnesses (IIW 2011)

  1. kerri says:

    I’ve put a couple posts about this up in the last week or two : ]

    I switched over to MedicAlert from my generic ID bracelet in August right before I went to Chicago with my aunt. I haven’t had the need for emergency care at this point, for which I am grateful, but with the active nature of my job and some of my classes [and a good chunk of time where nobody was at the number I had listed on my ID bracelet], plus travelling, it was a good investment to make to have the extra protection. I figure being over-protected is better than not being adequately protected :].

    Plus, they’re much less obtrusive than my other ID bracelet since the emblem is smaller, and I have a pretty small wrist! ;). I actually just sent back my stainless steel ID and extra sportsband to get shortened! [My medium kid-size sportsband fits though, imagine that ;)].

    While I sometimes hate when people stare at it or ask me about it, I try to remember I can use it as a tool for advocacy!

    • I’ve had mine since 1994! It’s a small child’s one hence you can’t fit much on the emblem!
      It’s mainly for allergies, anaphylaxis stuff. The asthma bit just says I have it and I’m on permanent oral steroids.

      I can understand people having them for peace of mind though, although it would be easier just to microchip us all at birth and update/add medical stuff to the records when we get beeped with the bar code reader, like AB!

      I know of a type one diabetic pupil at school who has one.

    • You should get somebody to ring the number and test it out. We do occasionally…….

      Oh, and I lost mine once, and it got posted back to me-somebody handed it in….incredible.

      I now have two!

      • kerri says:

        You can do that? I thought they verified that the identity of the person calling was that of a first responder or medical professional.

      • We have done it a few times before travelling when details etc have changed. They can’t release the info from the medical records to a random person but did verify everything was in order. My Dr checked mine out for me once too.

        The forms here have to be signed by your GP to say all the info is correct, otherwise they’d be too easy to get and would lose their purpose.

        Ambulance men are trained to look for an ID emblem. Mine is disguised amongst all the other bangles I wear but it has always been found and has probably therefore saved my life a few times

  2. kerri says:

    PS. It always throws me off when I post a comment and it says its 2 AM there! I’m like “But… it’s 9 PM!” :] Living in the future must be nice ;D.

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