It’s a relatively small thing, but it can be a literal lifesaver: medical alert jewelry. For people living with diabetes (or allergies, or asthma, or any other chronic condition), a simple bracelet or necklace can reveal medical information when it’s most important. And there are thousands of options for medical jewelry – from the standard stainless-steel oval-and-chain bracelet to gold cuffs. So how do you choose one?
First, think about how you’ll wear your medical ID. Will you change it depending on the day or occasion? Think about buying one tag that fits multiple bands. Will you keep it on at all times, even in the shower or pool? Opt for silicone or stainless steel. How visible do you want it to be; are you okay with strangers instantly recognizing your jewelry as medical in nature? If not, maybe look for something more decorative, or wear a dog tag under your shirt. Will you wear the piece as an accessory, or treat it more as a utilitarian part of your wardrobe?
Websites like Lauren’s Hope and Hope Paige offer a wide variety of styles, materials, sizes and designs, while sites like Road ID make accessories with a more streamlined aesthetic. There are even options to be found on Etsy. Just like the people who have diabetes, medical alert jewelry is everywhere.
Once you choose your trinket, be as specific as you can with your identifying information. Of course, you’ll want to start with your name and your medical condition, an ICE (In Case of Emergency) phone number (maybe even your doctor’s phone number, if there’s room), and any allergies. If you’re lucky enough to be allergy-free, include “NKA,” for No Known Allergies.
If you can’t get past the idea of wearing diabetes around your neck or wrist, you don’t have to go without ID. Go old-school and carry a card in your wallet, or use an app on your smart phone. Apple iPhones with iOS 8 can use the Health app to create a medical ID that shows up even when the phone is locked.
And if you’re really feeling adventurous, there’s always the permanent solution: a big diabetes tattoo. No one will miss that.