A medical ID is a form of identification that notifies others about your health in an emergency. People with fibromyalgia (also known as fibro) may consider medical ID jewelry to alert first responders to their symptoms and medications.
“I have an ID bracelet because I take several medications and have allergies to others,” shared one member of MyFibroTeam. “One time, I fell at home, breaking my leg, dislocating my knee, and hitting my head on a wrought iron table (concussion). I had one of these bracelets on. The paramedic later told me the info from the bracelet can be a lifesaver.”
Some medical jewelry allows you to design custom engraving of your information, and others provide slots for paper inserts. In the United States, medical IDs usually have the Star of Life medical symbol, representing emergency medical services. This symbol signifies the wearer has a medical condition that emergency services should note.
Putting the right information on your medical ID is critical, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some ideas about what to engrave on yours.
Your medical ID should clearly display your full name. Sometimes, people with seizures or trouble communicating also list their full home address in case they become confused and unable to get home. But otherwise, leave your address and other private information (like your social security number) off your medical ID.
List the phone number of someone to call if you’re unable to speak for yourself. This could be a friend, family member, or your health care provider. Be sure the person is familiar with your medical issues and knows that you’re listing them as an emergency contact. You can abbreviate the words “in case of emergency” with the acronym ICE to save space on your medical ID bracelet.
People with fibromyalgia experience fatigue, migraines, severe pain, insomnia, and cognitive changes. Making the connection clear between your symptoms and fibromyalgia can help others understand what’s happening during a medical emergency.
Along with listing relevant fibromyalgia symptoms, make sure to note any other chronic (ongoing) conditions. For example, if you have heart disease or diabetes, you’ll want others to be aware during an emergency. This is particularly crucial if you take medications like insulin or if you have an implanted device such as a pacemaker.
If you take any medications with significant side effects or potential interactions, you may want to note a few details in addition to just listing your meds. To save space, this can be as simple as the words, “Taking Lyrica, see med card in wallet.” A separate medical ID card provides more room for details.
Here are some common medications used for fibro and examples of why they might be important to list on a medical ID.
Additionally, if you take muscle relaxants, sleep medication, or stimulants for fibromyalgia, be sure to note them on your medical ID for the same reasons listed above.
If you have life-threatening allergies, consider a medical ID to help protect yourself from accidental exposure during an emergency. If you don’t have allergies, you can include the letters NKA to indicate “no known allergies.”
In addition, people with advance directives, such as do not resuscitate (DNR), may want to specify these choices on their medical ID.
A wearable medical ID is one of the easiest and most effective ways to communicate your health information in an emergency. Aside from bracelets, there are additional options for medical IDs, including watches, ID necklaces, wallet cards, medical ID tags, pendants, and key fobs. Some people even opt for medical ID tattoos — tattoos that provide the same identifying information as traditional medical IDs.
Fortunately, electronic medical IDs don’t require service, upkeep, or have batteries that run out.
Audio medical IDs are small audio recorders that clip onto your clothing. They allow you to save information in an audio file that responders can listen to. You can record a message that includes details about first aid or any relevant medical information. If you are unable to speak or respond, paramedics can easily press play to listen to your prerecorded information.
Another alternative is a USB device that holds your medical information, which you can attach to a dog tag or wristband. If you opt for a USB medical ID, keep in mind that personal medical information is sensitive and confidential and should only be stored and accessed securely. When looking to buy a USB medical ID, make sure it has an encryption feature with proper security guarantees from the manufacturer.
Some smartphones can let people access specific types of medical information from their lock screen. This feature 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 have an Android or other non-iOS phone, you may need to download a third-party mobile app. Simply search for “medical ID app” in 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 — by touch. 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 in a medical emergency, including care plans, prescriptions, and medical documents.
MyFibroTeam is the social network for people with fibromyalgia and their loved ones. On MyFibroTeam, more than 284,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with fibromyalgia.
Do you have a medical alert ID bracelet or another type of medical ID for fibromyalgia? If so, what does it look like, and what type of information is on it? Share your experiences in a comment below or 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.