American Medical ID is proud to support all the men and women who work tirelessly to save lives during emergencies. People who wear medical IDs rely on EMS to confirm their medical condition and medical information before providing aid. We know that 75 percent of EMS look for medical IDs and we thank them. Here are some stats on EMS in the United States.
While the general mood associated with football is one of excitement, the sport can also present some dangers, especially if the players have asthma or allergies.
According to WebMD, some kids can have an anaphylactic reaction before or during exercise. Symptoms include a rash or itching, trouble breathing or a choking sensation, wheezing, nausea or a headache.
Anaphylaxis is a serious medical emergency in which you should call 9-1-1.
But it shouldn’t always come to that for student athletes with allergies and asthma. Most often, serious situations can be prevented with a little planning and diligence.
First is proper diagnosis. Consult an allergy specialist who can inform you about triggers in diet and environment to avoid. The doctor can also give guidelines for activity levels. Along with your child’s doctor, you can develop an allergy action plan. This is a written procedure of how to act in an emergency situation. That way there is no confusion if an emergency does happen.
Part of an action plan will be what medicines your child should carry with him/her at all times. These can be over the counter antihistamines or epinephrine shots. Another important part of the plan is to wear identification that informs teammates, coaches, and others about your child’s asthma or allergies.
Medical IDs come in bracelet and necklace styles in materials durable enough to wear during sports. If your child is playing a contact sport, check with the coach to find out what style would be least intrusive. The last thing you want is a medical ID that could cause an injury during a game. One idea is to purchase an ID that stays with the gym bag to be worn during practice and games.
Asthma and allergies are serious conditions, but they don’t have to prevent your child from participating in school sports. With a plan in place, you can rest assured while your child reaps the physical and mental benefits of participating in sports.
Each September the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society puts a spotlight on blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma in an effort to increase funding for cancer research and patient support services.
What are Leukemia & Lymphoma?
Leukemia & Lymphoma are cancers of the blood. Leukemia forms when tumors grow in the bone marrow, where blood cells are created. Lymphoma refers to a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, which carries important fluids into the bloodstream.
There are an estimated 156,420 people in the United States diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma each year. Every three minutes one person in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Symptoms of leukemia can resemble many other illnesses and include: anemia, easy bruising or bleeding, small red spots under skin (petechiae), fatigue and weakness. Symptoms of lymphoma are similar, but also include swollen lymph nodes. Blood tests are used to diagnose blood cancers. Treatments for blood cancers include radiation and chemotherapy, and stem cell transplants.
How can I help?
Blood cancers are devastating diseases that affect more than the person with the disease. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the world’s health organization dedicated to blood cancer, and manages programs to research cures and treatments, provide current cancer patients with services to make their treatment easier, and advocate for public policy that protects cancer patients and their families.
It’s mid-August: time to get ready to send the kids back to school!
For children who have a condition that warrants a medical ID, prepping for school involves a little more than buying new clothes and school supplies.
It might mean putting together an allergy action plan, an insulin administration schedule, or setting goals for handling learning disabilities. In any of those cases, back to school also means getting to know the school nurse. This month we’re featuring the National Association of School Nurses as a partner on our website. Here are a few things you maybe didn’t know about your child’s school nurse.
Each August since 1996, Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a nonprofit organization, has hosted an awareness month for Spinal Muscular Atrophy to raise awareness about the disease.
What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) describes diseases of motor neurons causing weakness and atrophy of muscles, usually in the arms, legs, neck, and those associated with breathing. Nerves that sense pain are not affected, neither are neurons associated with cognitive functions.
SMA is a rare disease affecting one in 6,000 to 10,000 people worldwide, and between one in 40 to 80 people carries the gene. Since SMA is inherited, each child born of parents who both carry the gene has a 25 percent chance of being born with SMA.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
There are at least four types of SMA with varying degrees of debilitation. Type 1, the most severe, is diagnosed upon birth. Infants are born with little muscle tone, little movement, lack of head control, and may have trouble breathing. Types 2-4 are milder, with weakness starting later in life. In type 4, muscle weakness onsets in adulthood. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for the weakness caused by SMA. Some people with the disease may need braces to help support their bodies and help breathing.
How can I help?
It can be devastating to families who receive a diagnosis of SMA. Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy was established by several families who received a diagnosis, and needed a support group. They specialize in helping parents navigate the way through daily life with the disease. You can get involved with any of their events or make a donation directly to the organization.
Fight SMA is another nonprofit that was founded after a couple found out their son was diagnosed with SMA. Fight SMA focuses on funding research to find treatments for, ways to prevent, and a cure for the disease. You can make a donation to their efforts as well.
What is a DNR order?
A do-not-resuscitate order tells medical professionals that you do not want to receive CPR if your heart or lungs stop. Unlike other advanced directives that you can write yourself and have notarized, a DNR must be written by a doctor in your official medical chart. Requirements and instructions for the order vary by state.
When is it used?
DNR orders only pertain to stopping or preventing use of CPR, which can include mouth-to-mouth, breathing tubes, or electric shock to the heart. They don’t prevent the administration of pain medicine or first-aid.
Who can order it?
Your doctor writes a DNR order together with your consent. If you have named someone to speak for you, that person can consult with your doctor to write the orders. If you have not named anyone, and you are unable to speak for yourself, in some cases a loved one may agree to a DNR order on your behalf.
How do others know you have one?
You can, and should, tell your loved ones about your DNR instructions, and they can be included in your living will and any other documents that give instructions about your life. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to carry instructions on your person so that emergency responders can abide by your wishes. DNR or Do Not Resuscitate can be engraved on your medical ID; however, there is no guarantee that an emergency responder will follow the DNR orders based solely on an ID engraving.
With a personal health record, you can upload your doctor’s official order so that emergency responders and other medical professionals can access it.
What if I change my mind?
If you decide you don’t want it, tell your doctor right away and remove it from any documents you keep personally. You always have the right to accept CPR, even if you have an existing DNR order.
Source: Medline Plus from the National Institutes of Health
Swim days, camping trips, family vacations, and of course, barbecues. The summer months bring with them lots of outdoor activities and opportunities to get together with family and friends.
When you have food allergies, these outings can present some challenges. Here are some things to keep in mind when enjoying that backyard barbecue if you or your child has food allergies.
Share with Care
Grills and smokers are great for family-style cooking, but they can lead to allergen-laden foods mixing with allergy-friendly foods. For partygoers with food allergies, this can be a big problem. Ask the cook to use separate platters and utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
While grilled meats like ribs and chicken are pretty straightforward, many other barbeque foods may have hidden food allergens. Marinades and sauces can contain nuts, soy, or other common food allergies. Even hamburgers are not as simple as they used to be. Cooks often use egg and breadcrumbs to hold patties together, or incorporate cheese into the burgers themselves. Side dishes like potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and pasta dishes can contain egg or milk products. If you’re worried about the allergens, ask the cook before eating.
BYOF (Bring your own food)
You can’t go wrong with supplying your own snacks. If the event is a potluck, bring a dish that is free of food allergens for everyone to enjoy. That way you or your child can eat safely and feel like part of the crowd, too.
Info on Hand
Even if you’re just down the street at a neighbor’s house, it’s important to keep your medication, medical ID, and an emergency action plan handy. Inform the party host of your allergies and how he or she can act in the event of an allergy attack. However you enjoy your summertime, remember to stay safe!
This June marks the fourteenth annual “Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month,” a nationwide movement created by the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc. (MGFA) to raise awareness of the often misunderstood and under-diagnosed disease, Myasthenia Gravis (MG). MG strikes people of all ages, races, and genders and, while treatments are available to improve muscle strength, there is no known cure.
During the month of June, MGFA’s official “MG Awareness Month,” the national office, as well as chapters and individuals throughout the country, is involved in a variety of activities to promote awareness. These activities include obtaining proclamations from local and state officials, providing information about MG to the media, holding MG awareness events, disseminating information via social networks, and distributing MGFA’s “United For A Cure. A World Without MG” June Awareness Month poster. Several states and cities, including New York, Massachusetts, Nevada and most recently Connecticut, have issued proclamations, recognizing the month of June as Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month!
Myasthenia gravis (MG) literally means “grave muscle weakness.” It is a serious, potentially life threatening, neuromuscular, autoimmune disease which causes severe weakness in the voluntary muscles of the body. MG strikes both children and adults, and can affect a person’s ability to see, speak, walk, smile, eat–and at its worst, even draw a breath. MG saps strength, can erode abilities and hopes, halt a career, and unravel the fabric of families.
Symptoms of MG can include:
What are the treatments for MG?
There is no known cure for MG, but there are effective treatments available. Common treatments include medications, thymectomy (surgical removal of the thymus gland) and plasmapheresis (plasma exchange). Spontaneous improvement and even remission may occur without specific therapy. Medications are most frequently used in treatment.
What is the prognosis for those with MG?
The current treatments for MG are sufficiently effective that the outlook for most patients is bright. Although the treatments will not cure MG, most patients will have improvement in their muscle strength. In some cases, MG may go into remission, during which no treatment is necessary. There is much that can be done, but still much to understand. New drugs to improve treatments are needed. Research plays an important role in finding new answers and treatments for MG.
For more information about Myasthenia Gravis, visit the MGFA website.
As myasthenia gravis progresses, sudden flare-ups can occur unexpectedly and often at awkward times. Wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace can be a great benefit in explaining your situation to those around you and perhaps even save your life should you have a myasthenic crisis. There are certain drugs that patients with MG should avoid or only use with caution, such as neuromuscular relaxants which worsen the condition. In an emergency situation, first responders need to know that you have have MG in order to properly treat you and avoid the possibility of harming you further. Knowing that you are myasthenic at the onset will allow the emergency team to order the right tests and medication. Even if you are unable to talk at the time, wearing a medical ID can contain identify you as having myasthenis gravis and the medication you’re taking. The emergency team will be able to act swiftly and give you the proper treatment.
For more than 20 years, the Scleroderma Foundation, its chapters and support groups have recognized June as Scleroderma Awareness Month, marking it with annual awareness and fundraising events, as well as obtaining presidential, state and local proclamations. The Scleroderma Foundation has joined the Federation of European Scleroderma Associations (FESCA), and other international scleroderma organizations in recognizing June 29 as World Scleroderma Awareness Day.
Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own body. Once thought of as a rare condition, scleroderma is diagnosed in more people today than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, or cystic fibrosis.
Scleroderma means “hard skin.” It can cause a thickening and tightening of the skin. In some cases, it causes serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. As scarring, or sclerosis, of these organs and organ systems progress, they work less effectively, and can lead to organ failure and death. Scleroderma is not contagious, infectious, cancerous or malignant.
How is scleroderma diagnosed?
The diagnostic process may require consultation with rheumatologists (arthritis specialists), and/or dermatologists (skin specialists) and require blood studies and numerous other specialized tests depending upon which organs are affected.
Who develops scleroderma, and when?
It’s estimated that about 300,000 Americans have scleroderma. About one third of those people have the systemic form of scleroderma. Since scleroderma presents with symptoms similar to other autoimmune diseases, diagnosis is difficult. There may be many misdiagnosed or undiagnosed cases.
Localized scleroderma is more common in children, whereas systemic scleroderma is more common in adults. Overall, female patients outnumber male patients about 4-to-1. Although scleroderma is not directly inherited, some scientists feel there is a slight predisposition to it in families with a history of rheumatic diseases. However, scleroderma can develop in every age group from infants to the elderly, but its onset is most frequent between the ages of 25 to 55.
What is the treatment for scleroderma?
Currently, there is no cure for scleroderma, but there are many treatments available to help particular symptoms. For instance, heartburn can be controlled by medications called proton pump inhibitors PPIs) or medicine to improve the motion of the bowel. Some treatments are directed at decreasing the activity of the immune system. Some people with mild disease may not need medication at all and occasionally people can go off treatment when their scleroderma is no longer active. Because there is so much variation from one person to another, there is great variation in the treatments prescribed.
The Scleroderma Foundation has been fighting to spread awareness and help educate the public about this devastating disease for 15 years. Please join the fight and stand alongside them for June’s Scleroderma Awareness Month. Help them put an end to “sclero-what?” Here are just some ways you can help:
For more information on how you help, visit the Scleroderma Foundation Awareness Month website.
The Scleroderma Foundation is the national organization for people with scleroderma and their families and friends. It was formed January 1, 1998, by a merger between the West Coast-based United Scleroderma Foundation and the East Coast-based Scleroderma Federation. The national office is headquartered in Danvers, Mass. For more information about the Scleroderma Foundation please visit their website.
Source: Scleroderma Foundation
Father’s Day is just around the corner and you don’t know what to get him. Sure you don’t want to buy Dad another tie or money clip, but chances are you’re totally over-thinking this Father’s Day thing.
You want him to know you care. You want him to know that you appreciate all of the things he does. Most of all, you want him to be safe in an emergency because you’d like to keep him around for a long time to come. So don’t over-think it, get the father in your life a new medical ID bracelet or pendant and provide him with just a bit of the security and peace of mind he has given you over the years.
Check out our Lynx collection of medical ID bracelets for Dad:
Or go with the tried and true dog tag medical ID necklace that all men are happy to wear:
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
– Jim Valvano