How Do Medical IDs Work?

November 22, 2022

First, choose which style of medical ID you prefer. While Medical ID Bracelets are the most common form of medical ID, there are many other options available, including necklaces, sleeves, and sliders for watch bands, wallet cards, and more. Depending on your lifestyle, activity level, and personal preferences, medical ID options are available for you.  

Next, choose what information to include on your ID. Traditional medical ID bracelets allow you to engrave text. This limits the number of items you can include, so you will want to list the most vital information first. If you have any medical conditions in the four main categories - allergies, medication & devices, chronic medical conditions, and mental health - make sure to include them on your ID. Then list any other vital information that is relevant in caring for you.  

Then comes the easy part, you simply wear the medical ID! In the event of an emergency, your information is easily available and assessable to emergency personnel. 


How Do Medical IDs Work? 

Medical IDs started appearing in the1950s on metal necklaces and bracelets. They are important because emergency personnel can quickly identify your health information and provide accurate care in a timely manner. Medical IDs can speak for you if any emergency should arise. If you have a life-threatening medical condition, wearing one may be the difference between life and death. 

EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) are trained to look for the Star of Life symbol. Also called the Staff of Asclepius, the snake wrapped around a staff represents Greek folklore tales regarding healing. According to their mythology, Asclepius was the Greek god of healing, and he could improve the health of those who fell sick. It is important to make sure your medical ID has this symbol clearly depicted on the front-facing side. According torecent studies, 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID when treating individuals in emergency situations. 


Traditionally, there are colors assigned to categories of health information. A red band represents an allergy. Purple represents those who do not wish to be resuscitated. These colors expand into hospital use, with green representing a latex allergy, and blue referring to those whose extremity is fragile. Lastly, yellow means the patient is likely to fall. Color coding makes it easy for healthcare workers to provide consistent care nationwide. 

While bracelets are the most common form of medical ID, there are many other options available. These may include necklaces, sleeves, sliders for watch bands, wallet cards, and more. Keychains are also a great option because of their easy-to-read flat surface. Depending on your lifestyle, activity level, and personal preferences, there is a medical ID option for you.  


Medical ID tags are also becoming increasingly popular because of the convivence to loop them on to your personal items such as purses and backpacks. They are versatile, waterproof, and have Near Field Communication Technology. This NFC Technology is the same used for many credit cards and Apple Pay. It allows the direct transfer of secure information with no charging required. 


After you have chosen your preferred style ofmedical ID, it is time to add your crucial health information.Although there are no national guidelines for what information should be included on your medical ID, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and other medical authorities support the widespread use ofpatients utilizing medical IDs 

For traditional medical ID bracelets, the text is engraved. The main points to have include your name and your most important health information.Food and drug allergies, medical conditions, chronic diseases, and emergency contacts. Some newer ID models contain QR codes that link to a personal profile. This profile contains detailed history and important health bullet points.  

The last and most crucial step is to wear your medical ID! In the event of an emergency, your information is easily available and accessible to emergency personnel.  




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