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I’m amazed, when I look back over the past several years, how my vocabulary and knowledge regarding food allergies have grown.

My past struggle to explain food allergies (who, why, when, where, how), has been replaced with gauging how much is too much.  A good indication is “The Look”, glazed over eyes and periodic sighing, the tale-tale signs you’ve lost them in an information over-load. I’m glad for the growth but sometimes all that knowledge can make things difficult.

A question came up recently in a food allergy group that touches on this issue.

“What should I put on a medical alert bracelet?”

Good question. Space is limited and you need to communicate the most important things for first responders. This is not the place for a detailed medical history or the nuances of your diagnosis.

The situation is critical and you need the first responders to know… what? I would suggest these guidelines:

  • What would make things worse? Do you have drug allergies, do you take a critical daily medication, do you have an implanted medical device, etc?
  • What are your conditions? Do you have food allergies, a major organ condition, etc?

Use these questions to make your list. Brevity is the goal here. So make your list as long and detailed as you like then start widdeling it down. Try to get one or two words for each item.

Allergic to five different foods, no need to list all five, instead list “Multiple Food Allergies”. This let’s them know you have food allergies and to use caution and gives them a clue as to what is going on if you are non-responsive. The point is to give the first responders information that will help them treat you without making you worse. Remember, their goal to stabilize you and get you to the hospital. At the hospital, their goal is to get you out of danger and well.

When brevetity matters, what would your bracelet say?

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