Women’s Health

August is Medical Alert Awareness Month

medical alert bracelet

What will you do if you are in a medical emergency and cannot speak? How will the paramedics and doctors know about your medications and your preexisting conditions?

The month of August is Medic Alert Awareness Month. For over 60 years, the MedicAlert Foundation International (MAFI) has customized jewelry for people who suffer from life threatening medical conditions. Dr. Marion Collins established MAFI after his daughter, Linda, nearly died of a severe allergic reaction during a simple non-life threatening medical procedure. Soon after, the Collins’ family came up with the idea of inscribing Linda’s medical condition on a bracelet, rather than attaching a note to her coat everywhere she went without her parents. Today, these medical alert bracelets, necklaces, and shoe tags help save millions of lives across the world annually. This month is dedicated to educating everyone about these medical alert bracelets to prevent another situation like Linda’s from occurring.

In emergency situations, good Samaritans and first responders must assess a situation and react quickly as best as they can with little to no information on what has caused the emergency (i.e. when a person collapses suddenly and/or becomes unresponsive). MedicAlert bracelets are designed to clearly state what medical conditions a person suffers from. These medical conditions include: food or drug allergies; anaphylaxis shock; asthma; cardiac problems; hypertension; epilepsy or seizures; has a pacemaker; diabetes; risk of stroke; lung disease (like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder—COPD); cancer; dialysis; multiple sclerosis; on blood thinners (Coumadin, Warfarin); has anemia or a blood disorder(s); suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; Autism; child with special needs; and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders.

In addition to stating what medical issue the victim may be suffering from, MAFI provides a 24/7 Emergency Response phone number on their identification jewelry. By calling that phone number, you will be able to receive information on the victim’s: current medications and the dosage; previous medical and surgery information (i.e. concussion, stroke, etc.); access to emergency contacts (family members); their primary care physician’s contact information; if they have implanted medical devices; advance directives; and more. Knowing this information can significantly assist you in your response to the individual and help expedite response from medical personnel once they arrive. MedicAlert bracelets have decreased medical errors by almost 50%, as well.

MAFI is a non-profit, charitable organization that partners with organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association/Go Red for Women, American Hospital Association, Emergency Nurses Association, and many more to provide those in need with proper identification jewelry. MAFI also provides free training materials (like sample identification tags) to help first responders, and anyone else interested, have a better understanding of these medical alert tags. These can be found by visiting Medical Alert Foundation.


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