Awareness * Advocacy * Research

Importance of Medical Alerts

Most of us depend on our phones to summon the police or fire departments, but what if you have a bad reaction and can’t get to a phone? Or even worse, what if you are stricken with a sudden medical episode that renders you incapable of walking or speaking? It’s best to be prepared with things like medical alerts.

Even though medical professionals are trained in identifying anaphylaxis and shock, they are not able to identify cold allergy as being the source and can continuously trigger repeated reactions during attempts to provide emergency care.

What is the best form of Medical Alert?

The form(s) you use should fit your needs and lifestyle. More than one form of alert is beneficial and will increase the chances of your information being found.

How do I know emergency responders will look at my medical ID? There is no absolute guarantee. However, most first responders are actively informed to look for medical IDs as part of their training. Some providers also conduct additional training and offer education to first responders to look for their medical IDs. These efforts will increase your chances of success in a time of need. www.medicalalert.org

Locations to display Medical Alert

1) On your person: You can wear jewelry like bracelets, necklaces, and dog tags.  New ideas are coming out which provide identification for children or adults with other special needs.  This includes shoe lace tag attachable identification with a QR Code that can be scanned by smart phone and direct the first responder to a website with pertinent information.

2) In your personal effects: This would include placing a business card with identifying information in your wallet.  For a babies and toddlers, tags could be laminated and affixed to the diaper bag and car seat.

3) In/On your vehicle: Some cities provide programs where you place a marker in a specific area on the outside of your vehicle, such as a (large) yellow dot on the rear windshield.  This alerts the medics that there is an individual in the vehicle with a medical condition that would need attention in the even of an accident.  With this program, a form is completed and a picture of the person affixed, which is placed in the glove box.

4) Use a call in service similar to OnStar or Life Alert.

Whatever method you choose should be visible and easily accessible. But keep in mind that not every scenario of an accident can be predicted and there are cases where the information is lost or destroyed during an accident, or the nature of the emergency may not allow the medics time to look for the information you make available.

5) Use ICE (In Case of Emergency) on your cell phone, if available.  He phone is different and the amount of information that can be loaded in ranges from identifying three emergency contacts to being able to list all pertinent information.  ICE information is available to emergency personnel even when the phone is locked.

What should my information say?

It should be clear and to the point.  It should be easy to read.  All written/typed forms should include a picture.  It should be updated as necessary.

See linked pages for recommendations to sites which provide various forms of medical alert.

Nuggets of Wisdom

Yes, there is such a thing as having an allergic type reaction to temperatures. This is defined as a physical urticaria. Other physical urticarias include Solar, Aquagenic, Pressure, Vibration and Exercise.

Most reactions are pseudo-allergic. By definition, an allergy involves inhaling or consuming an allergen. Physical urticarias have no known allergen. Despite the terminology and medical definitions, systemic reactions can be life threatening.

Cold has an arbitrary definition based on an individual feeling. For a person with a cold urticaria, cold can be defined as any temperature cooler than their own body temperature.

You do not have to be cold to have a reaction to the cold; contact with cold can trigger a reaction.

You can have an allergic type reaction to both cold and heat simultaneously.

Most reactions considered anaphylactic are really anaphylactoid by definition.

Moving to a warmer climate as a treatment for Cold Urticaria is a myth. Warmer climates present their own issues for those with Cold Urticaria.

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