Medical emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere — at school or work or while traveling. Depending on where you are when an emergency occurs, the people around you might not recognize what’s happening or know what steps to take. This can be dangerous because people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may require special care in an accident or a health crisis.
An MS bracelet or another form of medical identification informs people around you about the appropriate course of action if you’re unable to speak for yourself.
A medical ID bracelet communicates that you have MS and provides directions on what can be done during an emergency.
If you or a loved one is living with MS, you know how challenging health scares and accidents can be. A medical ID bracelet is an important safety measure for people who have MS or other serious health conditions. It not only lets others know you have MS but also informs them of other vital information, such as any medications you take and allergies you have.
Without medical identification, other people will not know if your symptoms are caused by MS or something else. Wearing a medical ID can help those around you know how to respond and prevent dangerous mistakes or interactions.
A bracelet or other form of medical ID can immediately inform first responders — such as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or emergency department staff — about details of your MS. Paramedics usually check for medical information on a person’s body, in a wallet or purse, and on their phones.
A survey conducted by American Medical ID found that more than 95 percent of respondents look for medical IDs during health emergencies. Medical alert jewelry like MS bracelets provide vital health information to others.
Generally, medical IDs are customized to reflect your unique health status. They often include medical information such as:
When health care providers can rapidly access this information, it helps them give you the safest and most effective treatment possible. If you take maintenance meds to keep your MS symptoms under control, you can avoid missing a dose and risking other serious health consequences while receiving critical care.
Obtaining a medical ID bracelet or another medical ID solution may help you feel more comfortable when you’re traveling to unfamiliar places or around others who don’t know about your condition. With a medical ID, you know that if an emergency happens, you’ll be more likely to get the appropriate care and your contacts will be notified.
If you can’t speak for yourself, it’s helpful for a first responder to understand that you may walk differently or be prone to headaches and vision problems because of your MS. Many people with MS feel they need to explain their condition to others, but that’s not always possible during an emergency. Having a medical alert ID helps reduce the worry that others won’t understand your situation.
MS can take a toll on your mental health, but products that increase independence — like medical IDs — can help improve your resilience and quality of life with MS.
Wearing a medical ID bracelet is one of the easiest, most effective ways to communicate medical conditions in an emergency. Medical ID bracelets don’t require service, upkeep, or batteries (which can run out).
Additional options for medical IDs include:
Most medical jewelry can be engraved with the information of your choice, and some provide slots for paper inserts. In the United States, medical IDs usually have the Star of Life symbol, representing emergency medical services. This signifies that the wearer has a medical condition that emergency services staff should note.
Depending on the style and the seller, you can get a piece of medical ID jewelry such as a silicone bracelet for a few dollars or pay $15 or more for a custom-engraved sterling silver design.
MS jewelry is just one form of medical ID. There are many other options that might suit your needs.
ID cards make a convenient, easy-to-carry backup form of medical ID. You can find free medical ID cards online to print at home, or you can order inexpensive, laminated, customized wallet cards that fold out to allow room for all of your information. For a little more, you can order a custom plastic card (like a credit card) that allows health care professionals to quickly access your electronic health records online via an internet link and a scannable QR code.
Audio medical IDs are small audio recorders that clip onto your clothing. They allow you to save information in an audio file for emergency responders. You can record a message that includes details about first aid or any relevant medical information. In the event of an emergency in which you are unable to speak, first responders can quickly press play to listen to your prerecorded information.
A USB device can hold your medical information, including PDFs of documents, and be attached to a dog tag or wristband. With USB medical IDs, keep in mind that medical information is confidential and should be stored and accessed securely. When shopping for a USB medical ID, make sure it has an encryption feature with proper security guarantees from the manufacturer.
Some people opt for medical ID tattoos, which provide the same identifying information as traditional medical IDs.
Talk with your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for you to get a tattoo. You should also inform your tattoo artist that you have MS.
Some smartphones have features that let people access specific types of medical information from the lock screen. This allows medical professionals to see your health information without needing a password for your phone.
If you have an iPhone, you can set up a smart medical ID by following these instructions.
If you own a smartphone running Android 12 or later, it should have the Personal Safety app installed. This lets you save your emergency info to your phone, share it with others, and, in some areas, automatically contact emergency services. You can learn more about it here.
For other Android and non-iOS phones, search for “medical ID app” on the Google Play Store or your phone manufacturer’s app store.
Near-field communication (NFC) allows smartphones and other similar devices to communicate with other technologies and transfer information — including medical information — over short distances. If you have a wristband, wallet card, or key fob that uses NFC, medical personnel can access your medical information on a secure website in case of an emergency. This information can include anything you think would be important, including care plans, prescriptions, and medical documents.
MyMSTeam is the social network for people with MS and their loved ones. On MyMSTeam, more than 198,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with multiple sclerosis.
Do you wear a medical ID bracelet or carry another form of medical alert? Has it been useful? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.
American Medical ID is proud to celebrate over 25 years of serving the chronic health community by offering personalized, custom-engraved medical ID jewelry. In an emergency, the jewelry allows medics or other medical professionals to give prompt, precise treatment. Leading physicians, pharmacists, educators, and hospitals endorse American Medical ID jewelry for people living with a chronic condition.