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Medical alert refers to a way in which an individual can draw attention to their hidden condition without speaking. Diabetes, pacemakers and allergic reactions are conditions that people choose to highlight because they can quickly result in unconsciousness. Here are some ways people can alert first responders to their invisible illness.
Bracelets and necklaces, if bought from a known provider such as MedicAlert, carry the international medical symbol of the serpent coiled around a staff. On the reverse personal details are engraved. Responders can phone the number provided for further information.
Medical bracelets are well known in the responder world. The good side is that a responder will look for a bracelet if they suspect an allergic reaction, diabetes or other condition. A big downside is metal allergy but providers say they are working on a silicone version.
OK, so this isn't quite as useful as it once was now that tax discs are obsolete - but you can still get a medical alert tax disc holder and leave it in your car window if that suits you.
With the international medical symbol on the watch face these are dual purpose - check the time and save your life. There are quite a few styles available with metal or nylon straps for both men and women.
For incurable illness some people might consider a tattoo. Tattoos need to be somewhere obvious, getting a tattoo on your back won't help much, so most choose their forearm or wrist.
A problem is that individual designs are not medically recognised and because tattoos are part of our culture they could be saying anything. 'Diabetes' could mean someone wants to raise awareness, a family member died from diabetes or they simply liked the design.
As we progress further into the health tech world apps for serious medical conditions are under development.
They are certainly innovative and work on the basis that we're glued to our mobile devices. Perhaps we're more likely to have our phones with us rather than remember to put on a watch or bracelet? Especially when many of us have the time handy on our devices.
Apple have introduced a new app that stores medical information on your iPhone, and Ford even has a car seat under development that monitors the heart's electrical activity and relays heart attack information to the nearest hospital.
These may be a little high tech right now, but in the future it's likely they will become more popular.
Of course there is the tried and tested method of carrying a card in your wallet or purse. They are an effective method if you're not allowed to wear jewellery or tattoos to work.
A more recent twist is the 'Can't Wait' card - a small card stating 'Please Help - I have a condition which means I need to use your toilets facilities urgently'. These cards take the embarrassment out of explaining IBS or bowel and bladder related conditions and come in many different languages for trips abroad.
If you have a hidden medical condition it's a good plan to have some kind of alert system on your person. Whether it's a card, bracelet or tattoo make sure it's visible and updated because it could save your life.