Medical Bracelets

Jon

Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) Awareness Week

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bedMay 11 to 17 is Myalgic Encephalopathy/Encephalomyelitis (ME) Awareness Week. ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or ME/CFS, post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) or CFIDS – Chronic Fatigue immune Dysfunction Syndrome. These terms all refer to the same condition, but if just naming a condition is that complicated, clearly the illness itself must be complicated too. And indeed, it is.
 
ME/CFS is often onset by a virus—after the virus should be completely gone, unrelenting fatigue, pain, sleep issues, memory issues, and often, gastrointestinal issues, remain. It can also be linked to surgery or an accident—many ME/CFS patients can pinpoint the exact day their symptoms started, as my friend Ryan states in his documentary Forgotten Plague, while others may have a slower, more gradual onset [1. 2]. ME/CFS can be “mild” to severe—some people recover or go through relapsing/remitting periods of exhaustion and near normal energy, while others remain bed-bound for most or all of the day for years. 
 
Treatment is individualized for each patient, and there is no standard treatment. Treatments that may work well for one person with ME/CFS may be ineffective or even harmful to others. [1] Adequate rest is the core treatment. [1] Graded exercise therapy may gradually help people with ME/CFS be able to carry out increasing amounts of physical activity, cognitive behaviour therapy may assist in adjusting to the changes related to a ME/CFS diagnosis. [3] Activity adjustment, some medicines including antidepressants if needed, decreasing caffeine and alcohol intake, even vitamin therapy may also help. [3, 2]
 
While ME/CFS is not all that common, 250,000 people in the UK (less than a third of a percent) have the syndrome. [3.1] If you know someone with ME/CFS, ask them how you can help support them, and how you can help advocate for more research to be done for ME/CFS. If you have ME/CFS, wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace for chronic fatigue may help in an emergency. 
Jon

Food Allergy Awareness Month

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Peanut allergyOne of the most common reasons people will wear a medical ID bracelet is for a severe food allergy. Especially for kids, who may have trouble communicating their needs, a food allergy medical bracelet or anaphylaxis alert bracelet can put those around them, especially their parents, at a bit more ease. In the case of the food allergy medical bracelet, the jewelry does not just cause people to react if an emergency takes place, but serves as a visual reminder that a child needs special care—that is, avoidance of their allergen.
In the UK, the most common food allergens are: milk, egg, soy/soya, fish/seafood, peanut/legume and tree nut, sesame (and other seeds), mustard, and wheat. [1] People may be allergic to more than one item on the list, and those who have asthma may experience more severe reactions. Severe allergic reactions may also develop to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction to a substance. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include breathing problems, rash, throat swelling, hives, gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting), and swelling. Treatment of anaphylaxis must be rapid, given as an injection of epinephrine, typically in an autoinjector. Epinephrine will halt and begin to reverse the reaction, but dosing may need to be repeated. Once epinephrine is given for a suspected reaction—one should ALWAYS err to administer as it will do little harm to give epinephrine without need, but could do great harm to delay dosing—999 should be called immediately and the person should always seek emergency care from the hospital. Some people will have a second dose of epinephrine with them, to be given 10 to 15 minutes following the first dose, in the event the reaction begins to come back.
Because of the rapid need for treatment of allergic reactions, severe allergy medical ID or anaphylaxis ID bracelets should be engraved with ALLERGIC TO [food item], GIVE EPINEPHRINE – CALL 999, then followed by an emergency contact number to ensure that the person is promptly administered epinephrine if they are unable to administer themselves. It may also be helpful to engrave where epinephrine is stored (such as a backpack or purse)—most schools recommend or require children self-carry epinephrine, even if they cannot self-adminiser, and that the epinephrine is worn on the child’s belt in a waist pack for quick access. For your food allergy medical ID needs, please check out our shop!
Kerri

National Stop Snoring Week: A nuisance or a health problem?

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In March, we celebrated Sleep Awareness Month on our My Identity Doctor United States blog, and the importance of sleep on our health. Now that we have reached the last week of April, it’s National Stop Snoring Week here in the UK! Often, we see (or hear!) snoring as just another nuisance—after all, it is irritating when your partner or hotel roommate is a snorer, isn’t it? However, snoring can be a sign of other medical issues—or, nothing at all—so it is important to get checked out!
I have two stories of people in my life who have seen a doctor about snoring, and each hpillows-1031079_640ad different results—this is why snoring is nothing to brush off, however, also nothing to lose sleep over! (Okay, bad pun!)
A couple years ago, a friend was at a tournament sharing a room with other athletes and his coach. The coach was also a doctor, and he told my friend that during the night it had sounded as if his breathing was stopping, and that he should see someone to get evaluated. My friend had a sleep study done, and it was determined that his snoring and breathing issues were caused by sleep apnea. For about two years now, he has used a CPAP machine at night, and no longer has scary attacks when he wakes up after not breathing. A bonus to this? He also does not snore anymore—I was surprised as well, just how very quiet his CPAP machine is! It is even quieter than a central heating or cooling system kicking in!
Several years ago, someone I know finally went to the doctor about her snoring after years. She was referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist (ENT), who after a quick physical examination of her throat, simply informed her that she has an enlarged uvula (which hangs down from the top of the “soft palate” in the mouth—if you reach your tongue back you may be able to feel your soft palate!). This is not in itself dangerous, but it means that her airway becomes narrower during sleep causing snoring. The doctor said that there was no guarantee surgery would help, and sent her on her way—simple as that!
Other causes of snoring include sinus issues which may be easily treated with nasal sprays, or even simply your sleeping position, in which case your doctor may recommend a mouth guard of sorts or a jaw strap to keep your jaw better aligned to prevent snoring. So, snoring may not always be a sign of something sinister, which means it is important to get things checked out! If you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, medical ID jewelry can be important—but in all cases, it is important to get snoring checked out, for peace of mind and a better night sleep!
Kerri

National Pet Month: Is a pet good for your health?

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Around here, we’re big fans of Burton the shop pup! Burton helps us to ensure our medical ID bracelets, necklaces and all our products get sent off to our customers in great shape—he’s been known as the “quality control pup” at times! Not only can a shop pup be important to keeping you feeling less stressed at work, having a pet can also help you stay healthy (even if they aren’t allowed to come to work with you like Burton is!)
Exercise is important, and for many of us, we simply don’t get enough! Having a pet, especially a dog, can be an easy way to motivate yourself to keep active—after all, having those big eyes staring back at you is a pretty easy sell! If you have a medical condition, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet while out and about
For older adults, and those of us with ADHD, routine is important. Pets help keep our minds sharp as we have to care for them, as well as making us stick to a routine, which can make us more productive and be a positive contributor to our mental health and providing a sense of purpose to be responsible for another life.

burton

Finally, pets can lower blood pressure through the act of petting them and giving—and receiving—affection. The difference may be small, but it can make all the difference when trying to stay healthy! Pets also may lower your risk of developing asthma, eczema, or allergies, when introduced to children at a young age—this in particular applies to dogs. [1]  More research is needed, but if you want an excuse to get a dog, this is a pretty good one, right?
Some pets also have special medical needs. Remember that many of our dog tag necklace charms can double as great medical ID pet tags for your pet, so not only can they find their way home if lost, their special medical needs will be attended to as well!
Kerri

Purple Day for Epilepsy: 26 March

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purple ribbon sketch with Purple Day 25/03 written on top

Purple Day for Epilepsy artwork by timeywimeystuff13 on DeviantArt

While seizures can be scary, knowing what you are dealing with can help. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures, and it affects about 1 in 100 people in the UK. [1] A seizure is the result a sudden burst of electrical pulses in the brain which cause muscles to contract and release involuntarily—epilepsy can onset at any age. [2]  While epilepsy can occur after another medical problem—such as a traumatic brain injury, an infection (like meningitis) that affects the brain, or stroke—as well as if a baby is oxygen deprived during birth—about half the time, doctors do not know what causes a person’s epilepsy [1]

It can be scary to witness someone having a seizure. To learn more about what to do if someone you know, or encounter, is having a seizure, check out this link to Epilepsy First Aid from Epilepsy UK. It is most important to ensure the person is safe, and depending on what type of seizure, that they do not injure themselves. Being a source of comfort and providing care while a person comes out of a seizure is also an important role, to alleviate any confusion that they may be experiencing or questions they may have about what happened. There are many different types of seizures, so if you know someone with epilepsy, they may be able to tell you what to look out for, as seizures are not always of the tonic-clonic (formerly known as “grand mal”) type. You can learn more about different types of seizures from the Epilepsy First Aid link above, or from Epilepsy UK’s website.
People with epilepsy usually take medicines to decrease their seizures—sometimes when people do not respond to the medication, they may require surgery on their brain or vagus nerve which has a role in seizures. [1] Mainly for children, a special diet may assist in decreasing the frequency of seizures. [1] this is something that has been helpful for Caitie, a young woman with epilepsy that we interviewed on the US My Identity Doctor blog last year. Be sure to check it out to learn more about how it might affect someone on a personal level.
 
No matter what type of seizures you have, wearing an epilepsy medical bracelet or necklace can be important. Purple is the colour of epilepsy awareness, and we have lot of purple medical awareness jewelry that can keep you safe and help raise awareness of epilepsy at the same time.  World Purple Day for Epilepsy is March 26, so wear purple to show your support for those living with epilepsy.
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