Food Allergies, Medic Alert

After watching my book trailer last week, colleague and friend Kishari, the Food Allergy Queen, asked me this question through Facebook:

"How does your bracelet specifically describe your nuts and fish allergy? (My list of allergies is so long a friend suggested I get a medical belt instead! Ha.)"

I looked down at my MedicAlert bracelet and realized I’ve had the same one since my senior year in college. The main reason I got one then was because I was leaving to go to Oxford University for a year and my allergist strongly recommended it. In my recollection, the idea was and still is, that if I were somehow rendered unable to care for myself or unable to communicate, an alert bracelet would speak for me.

For me, the most likely culprit to render me unable to communicate would be severe asthma and/or a severe allergic response i.e. anaphlyaxis. These could be caused by my most severe food allergies (nuts and fish) and allergic asthma to animals. So, my medic alert bracelet, the one I show to my “date” in the book trailer (and in real life) says: "Asthma. Allergic to salmon, all nuts, animal dander. Carries EpiPen"

Not only to I find it a comfort to know that my bracelet can speak for me when or if I can't, but often I will use it to illustrate the seriousness of my food allergy request, say, to a disbelieving server or manager. The rod of Asclepius is an international and old symbol for medical/medicine; it works.

Do you have one? Have you been considering one? Have you talked to your doctor yet? What would yours say?


Unknown said…
I've been wearing one since the 90s. It lists only my life-threatening allergies (3 foods, 2 meds). The full record is accessible if someone calls the number on the bracelet. Also, if there's a lot of urgent medical info the emblems come in small, large, and with a longer scroll hidden within.
Thanks for the shoutout, Allergic Girl! My bracelet (from Lauren's Hope) has my blood type, then Allergies: alcohol, food environmentals. Alcohol is the most severe one for me, and a lot of liquid emergency medication is alcohol-based.
Karen said…
I bought one just a couple of months ago, mine says Allergic to: Peanuts, Gluten. I know Gluten is technically an intolerance, but I also know some of the solutions they treat with in the ER contain gluten, and it makes me sick enough, I wouldn't want to wake up from an anaphylactic reaction with a gluten reaction happening.
Unknown said…
There is a post showing what is typically engraved on a medical ID at
Anonymous said…
I started wearing one in approx 1986. I updated mine about 5-6 years ago and the Canadian Medic Alert Foundation person on the phone consulted me at some length (truly appreciated) suggested that the best way to write me up was:

"Asthma, Severe Allergy to ASA, Fish and Shellfish; Needs Epipen."

The person on the phone said that the best thing was to avoid big uncommon words like "anaphylaxis" or "angiodema" -- which was on my last bracelet. Use words that most people will understand. Especially ESL speakers (given that I work internationally frequently!). We would have liked to use Aspirin rather than ASA, but there wasn't space!
Lindsay said…
I wear mine only when I travel alone. I really ought to wear it all of the time, considering that I live alone...but they are just plain ugly, so I cheat. Mine has a medallion with the medical staff/snake on one side, and "allergic to peanuts and tree nuts" clearly on the other side. The bracelet itself is mostly brown beads with a couple black and turquoise beads thrown in here and there. My mom bought it in a hospital gift shop for my 30th birthday present. Not the most exciting gift, but it expresses her care and concern. Go mom! ;)
Unknown said…
I just found out about your blog. Great!

I wear an SOS-bracelet, which has a thin paper inside. I have written all my medications on the paper (a lot) and some of the allergies. I have so many food allergies that there was not enough space for them. The numbers for my spouse and my mother are also there.

Then I always keep my prescriptions and a list of my medications and allergies in a folder in my rucksack.

I am thinking of creating a piece of paper (red with cross or other medicine symbol) and putting it in my wallet. If the ambulance/hospital staff does not notice my bracelet, someone will probably try to find out my name --> wallet.

Allergic from Finland

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