A tattoo for patients? What a crazy idea! But don’t let the prejudice against body branding cloud your judgment, because the concept of medical alert tattoos deserves closer examination. Imagine a scenario where you discover that you are allergic to nuts, but since the situation is still fresh you’re forgetting to mention it while ordering food. However, you at least had the wisdom of inking a cool-looking sign on your wrist that informs people of your medical condition.
Perhaps one day you might stop at the new bakery to try out their muffins and the attendant decides to sprinkle some nuts on your order as a kind gesture, unaware of your allergy. But when you reach out to pay for the order, she spots the medical alert tattoo on your wrist and realizes her mistake. In this scenario, getting that ink done very much saved your life.
A Hip Way of Informing Paramedics
Medical alert tattoos are basically alternatives to ID tags, but is it worth it to leave a permanent mark on your skin instead of wearing an accessory? As you might expect, the answer is not that simple. If you think about it, a tattoo can be placed anywhere on your body and the size is totally down to you, too. While a steel bracelet is recognizable, people will need to closely examine it to learn about your condition. A permanent ink picture, however, is very telling of what kind of allergy or illness you have.
Additionally, it’s impossible to forget to wear a tattoo in the morning, and the message won’t wear away over time. Even though they are still an uncommon sight, medical alert tattoos might be more interesting for younger people, who might refuse to wear such ‘embarrassing’ trinkets and want something a little cooler. Visiting the tattoo parlor is also a viable option for someone who is allergic to metals and cannot wear a traditional medical alert ID.
Tattoos Are Less Versatile Than ID Tags
Bear in mind that there is a reason why ink marks aren’t as popular as ID tags. Emergency responders are often confused when they spot such tattoo on someone’s arm, not knowing whether it’s an actual warning sign or just a fashion statement. The permanent nature of the mark is also a downside, since it cannot be ‘updated’ so easily with more or new information. Medical alert IDs display additional information on their backside, such as your name, address or medical history. Obviously, that information cannot all be painted on your arm, you would look silly.
On top of all that, the mere act of decorating your body could brew controversy. Certain workplaces have a code against hiring someone with a tattoo perhaps even if it’s for medical health benefits, not to mention there is always the risk of catching hepatitis or HIV from the needle at unscrupulous tattoo parlors.
Picking a Tattoo Shop Demands Thought
Even though medical alert tattoos are effective, be sure to do some thinking before the inking. Although you cannot ask your physician to grab a needle and do some body art, you should still ask their opinion. Certain conditions such as bleeding problems or fragile skin will make the process a health hazard. You should also do some research on which tattoo parlor to choose. Be sure to check whether they have a certification and pass the necessary health regulations, as well as reviews from previous customers. Each state regulates tattoo shops differently, and hospitals won’t give you a recommendation either.
In the end, there is still a long road ahead before medical alert tattoos are more commonly recognized. It goes without saying that only the younger generation should try them out, seniors are better to stick to the tried and tested ID bracelets. But whichever option you choose, make sure to have some form of vial of life in your bag to grant first responders more information – because remember, it is your life is on the line.
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