Frequently Asked Questions about Medical ID Jewelry
Here is a round-up of the most commonly asked questions about wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace. These FAQs can help you select the best medical alert jewelry and address concerns that are related to buying a medical ID.
About Medical IDs
- What is a medical ID?
- A medical ID is jewelry that could save your life. Medical conditions, drug and food allergies, prescribed medicines and emergency contacts can be engraved onto the surface of a medical ID bracelet or necklace.
- Who should wear a medical ID?
People with certain medical conditions wear medical IDs to alert emergency medical professionals in an emergency. The following are good reasons to wear a medical ID:
- Food, Drug or Insect allergies
- Cardiac problems (angina,arrhythmias,atrial fibrillation,pacemakers)
- Pulmonary Conditions(Asthma/COPD)
- Kidney Failure
- Diabetes, blood disorders
- Alzheimer's/Memory Impairment
- Blood thinners/ Anticoagulants (Coumadin/Warfarin)
- Emphysema/Breathing disorders
- Rare diseases
- Epilepsy/Seizure disorder
- Hearing, sight or mentally impaired
- Surgery, transplant and cancer patients
- Clinical trial participants
- Special needs children
- Stroke risk
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- People taking multiple medicines
- Tourette Syndrome
Some order medical IDs engraved with their blood type, online health records and contact information.
- Is there such a thing as a mental health ID bracelet?
Yes. Medical IDs are recommended to anyone living with a mental health condition, disorder, or illness. During an emergency, a person living with a mental illness may have trouble communicating, resist treatment, or act in an unusual manner that can be misinterpreted by responders, including police officers. Read more about mental health medical IDs.
- Do emergency responders even look for a medical ID? Are emergency services aware of using a medical ID? Are EMTs trained to check for them?
American Medical ID recently surveyed emergency medical professionals ranging from first responders to paramedics. Among the results:
- More than 95 percent of respondents look for a medical ID during emergencies.
- More than 75 percent look for a medical ID immediately upon assessing a patient.
- 95 percent look at the patient's wrist to find a medical ID, and 68 percent look for an ID on the patient's neck.
- What kind of medical ID is the most recognizable to EMTs and paramedics? What kind of medical ID should I wear?
A medical ID bracelet or necklace are the most recognizable forms of medical alert jewelry for EMTs and paramedics. A medical ID should have the medical emblem also known as the Star of Life that contains the snake & staff symbol. This will alert responders that you are wearing a form of medical alert jewelry that should be checked in an emergency. Remember that a medical ID is only effective when you actually wear it and if it contains accurate details about your health.
- When should I wear my medical ID?
- You should always wear your medical ID. Taking off your medical ID takes away its opportunity to help you in an emergency.
- How do I use medical alert ID bracelets in a critical condition or an emergency?
A medical ID is a simple and effective way to communicate health concerns in an emergency. When worn on the wrist or neck, 95% of responders will check them even when you are unconscious or unable to speak. If you are conscious, you can quickly point to your medical ID when communicating with responders such as paramedics or police officers. An example is for people living with autism or other mental health conditions who may have trouble interacting with others when under pressure or stress.
- Who recommends a medical ID?
Physicians and healthcare organizations throughout the world recommend medical IDs:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Institutes of Health
- Mayo Clinic
- American Diabetes Association
- The Cleveland Clinic
- Columbia University Medical Center
- The National Association of EMS Educators
- Epilepsy Foundation
- The Merck Manual
- Alzheimer's Association
- World Health Organization
- American Heart Association
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
- Texas Heart Institute
- Johns Hopkins Medicine
- American Heart Association
- What are the benefits of wearing a medical ID?
In an emergency, when you might be unable to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet or necklace speaks for you.
- Symptoms of common ailments can easily be misdiagnosed.
- Prompt diagnosis is critical to effective treatment.
- A brief description of vital medical facts engraved on your medical ID ensures appropriate and timely medical care.
- According to a published study, half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission or discharge from the hospital.
- Wearing a medical ID protects against potentially harmful medical errors.
More than 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing the patient. If you're wearing a medical ID, it won't be missed.
Medical IDs are not just for emergencies, they eliminate trips to the hospital, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save lives!
Metal Content and Quality
- Our Metal Quality Pledge
American Medical ID follows guidelines for jewelry precious metal content as set forth by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. A longtime member of the Jewelers Board of Trade, we attest that the precious metal you purchase meets or exceeds these requirements. Our assurances are verified with a quality stamp on each piece.
- What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless Steel is a steel alloy which protects against rust or corrosion. As it provides an attractive, clean finish and low maintenance, it is commonly used in jewelry, dentistry, surgery, kitchenware, etc. Stainless Steel is 100% recyclable. It is biologically inert, but some individuals with nickel allergy may experience skin irritation.
- What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. For some IDs, American Medical ID adds a layer of Rhodium to exposed surfaces (usually bracelets) in order to minimize scratching.
- What is Gold-Filled?
Gold-filled is made by bonding a layer of actual 10 karat gold to a brass-alloy base metal. To meet the legal definition, the minimum layer of karat gold is 1/20th (5%) the weight of the total piece. American Medical ID’s "Gold-Filled" necklaces and bracelets are 1/10th karat gold, precisely twice the legal requirement. Gold-Filled jewelry is considered a precious metal, and should not be confused with gold-plated jewelry, which has no perceptible gold content.
- What is 10K and 14K Gold?
10 Karat Gold is defined as 41.7% pure gold (10/24) combined with other metal alloys. It is considered the most durable gold for frequent wear. 14Kt Gold is 58.5% pure gold (14/24) and remains an extremely popular choice for those desiring a higher karat content that can withstand everyday wear.
- What is Titanium?
Titanium is a very lightweight and durable metal, only slightly heavier than aluminum but with the strength of steel. American Medical ID uses a commercially pure (CP) grade of titanium. Titanium is highly resistant to corrosion from sea water and chlorine. It is commonly used in jewelry, medical, industrial and consumer applications. Titanium is non-toxic even at very large doses and does not play any natural role inside the human body.
- What should I do if I experience metal allergy or hypersensitivity?
If you experience redness, itchiness, or rash when you wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace, you may have metal allergy or metal hypersensitivity. Please refer to our Metal Allergy page for more information and advice on the return and exchange process that we offer for customers who experience metal allergies.
Ordering a Medical ID
- How do I order?
- Online: Identify the product you wish to purchase, and add it to your shopping cart. You will then be asked to make engraving selections for your medical ID. Finally, you will need to complete the shipping and payment information. Online purchases can be paid for with any major credit card.
Fax: If you prefer, you may print an order form. Select the order form that features the product you wish to purchase, complete the product selection box, engraving information, shipping instructions and payment information. Payment can be made with a major credit card. Fax your order to us at 713.695.7358.
Mail: Print an order form. Select the order form that features the product you wish to purchase, complete the product selection box, engraving information, shipping instructions and payment information. Payment can be made with a personal check, money order or major credit card. Mail your completed form to:
American Medical ID
P.O. Box 925617
Houston, TX 77292-5617
Telephone: Call our toll-free number, 1.800.363.5985 between the hours of 8am and 5pm CST and place your order with one of our Customer Service Representatives. Phone orders require payment with a major credit card. COD orders are not accepted.
- How do I choose my medical ID?
- Visit our Tips for Choosing a Medical ID page for helpful information on what to consider when choosing an ID.
- I can't decide between a medical alert bracelet that is more fashionable and one that is more generic/obvious.
- American Medical ID has been the leading manufacturer of medical IDs for over 25 years. Our medical IDs are universally recognized in an emergency. When choosing a medical ID, it is important to select the ID that you can wear at all times. Our wide collection of medical IDs includes items that look like traditional medical IDs and some that are more stylish or discreet but still easily recognizable in an emergency. Read more tips on deciding a medical ID that will give you peace of mind.
- How long does it take to get my medical ID?
- Your medical ID is gently handled by many of our staff to ensure quality and correct engraving. Typically orders are shipped the next business day from the date in which you place your order. Transit time will depend on the Ship method you select. See Ship Options below.
- What shipping options do you offer?
- Standard Ground delivery normally 3-7 business days
Expedited normally 2-4 business days
Next Day 1 business day
- Does American Medical ID ship outside the United States?
- Yes, but there may be additional shipping charges. Call for pricing.
- What is the American Medical ID Return Policy?
Because your medical ID is personally engraved and cannot be re-used, we cannot accept returns on personalized items. For returns on non-personalized items, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-363-5985 to obtain a Return Authorization number.
- Engraved items are non-returnable and non-refundable
- USB and silicone items are non-returnable and non-refundable
- Non-personalized items must be new and unworn
- Shipping, handling, and processing fees are non-refundable
- The customer is responsible for all return shipping expenses
- All refunds for non-personalized items will be processed within 15 business days via the original method of payment
- Refunds totaling $20 or under will be issued as store credit unless originating payment method was by credit card or other electronic form of payment (Google / PayPal / etc)
For returns or exchanges of non-personalized items, please enclose your merchandise in a padded envelope and ship insured to:
Attn: Returns, American Medical ID, 949 Wakefield Ste. 100, Houston, TX 77018
Please include your Return Authorization number on the outside of the package. We are not responsible for damages or losses incurred during transit. For your protection, please ship insured.
- What is the American Medical ID Product Warranty?
All IDs, chains, and attachments are warranted against defects in material or workmanship for 90 days from the date of purchase. Upon receipt, please carefully inspect your purchase for errors or defects. This warranty does not cover:
- Normal wear such as scratching, dents, or tarnishing of the ID, chain and attachments
- Damage resulting from misuse, accidental handling, or exposure to corrosive substances
- Loss of any kind
- Repairs by anyone other than American Medical ID
- Changes in engraving information (unless Healthcare Professional Warranty is redeemed.)
- Oops, I made a mistake, may I change my order?
- Unfortunately, we cannot make any changes once you have placed your order. We begin processing your order right away. Please review order details carefully before submitting. Due to personalisation of each ID, all sales are final.
- May I order a medical ID for a friend or family member?
- Yes, we encourage you to know everything that should be engraved for your loved one. If you are unsure, purchase an American Medical ID Gift Card instead.
- Why does American Medical ID need to know whether the medical ID is for a male or female?
- We ask if you are male or female to determine your medical ID's plate size and chain length. If you do not specify a chain length in your order, we send the average chain length according to your gender. The plates on our bracelets are different sizes according to your gender. If you would like a different size plate, please call a Customer Service Representative at 1.800.363.5985.
- How do I know what size bracelet to order?
- Measure your wrist and add between 0.5" and 1" to that measurement.
- What is the Customer Satisfaction Policy?
- At American Medical ID we take great pride in creating personalized medical identification jewelry. From the time an order is placed, to when it arrives at your home, we want to ensure you are satisfied with your purchase. If you are not completely satisfied with your merchandise, you may return or exchange it in accordance of our Return Policy.
- How may I check the status of my order?
- To check the status of your order, either contact our Online Assistant or call a Customer Service Representative at 1.800.363.5985 between the hours of 8am and 5pm CST.
- How do I properly care for my medical ID?
- TITANIUM is hypoallergenic. To preserve your medical ID’s appearance and minimize scratching, gently clean with a non-abrasive soap or cleanser and water. Dry completely with a soft cloth. Store your titanium medical ID in a soft cloth or bag. Remove your medical ID when working with metal polishers or scrubbing soap. Heavy physical activity may make your medical ID vulnerable to scratching. Consider wearing one of our stainless steel bracelets or necklaces while outdoors.
STAINLESS STEEL Bracelets: Only the Curb chain is adjustable, allowing you to tailor the chain’s length to your wrist. Your medical ID bracelet should be worn firmly, yet comfortably. A firm fit will preserve the engraving. If you chose a Sister Hook clasp, it opens to a “V” by pulling its jaws out and apart. Attach the open clasp to the link to ensure the most comfortable fit on your wrist. To remove excess links, open the unneeded link with pliers by twisting open or cutting away the first unneeded link. Necklaces: If the necklace chain is too short, contact us and we will send a longer chain.
GOLD AND GOLD-FILLED metals will tarnish when exposed to acidic skin or air. A treated polishing cloth will discourage tarnishing. When storing jewelry, do not mix gold and silver. At a minimum, separate the metals by compartments. Guard your medical ID when using household cleaners, especially those containing ammonia or chlorine. Heavy physical activity may make your medical ID vulnerable to scratching. Consider wearing one of our stainless steel bracelets or necklaces while outdoors.
STERLING SILVER A treated polishing cloth will discourage tarnishing. When storing jewelry, do not mix gold and silver, separate the metals by compartments. Guard your medical ID when using household cleaners, especially those containing ammonia or chlorine. Heavy physical activity may make your medical ID vulnerable to scratching. Consider wearing a stainless steel medical ID bracelet or necklace while outdoors. Bracelets: Plates are rhodium coated which helps protect your medical ID from scratching. Chains are not rhodium coated. *Please note charm bracelets and the Odyssey Collection pieces are not rhodium coated, therefore may require more frequent cleaning. Necklaces: Are not rhodium coated. This includes the neck charm and chain.
Please visit our Wear and Tear Guide for more tips on how to care for your medical ID and information on preventing and removing tarnish.
- Can I use my Flex Spending Account to purchase a medical ID?
- Yes, a medical ID is an eligible expense that you can buy with your Flexible Spending Account, usually with a Preferred Flex Card without any prescription. Read more about using your FSA to buy a medical ID.
- Can I use my Health Savings Account (HSA) to buy a medical ID?
- Yes, medical ID bracelets and necklaces are qualified HSA expenses with no prescriptions required. Read more about using your Health Savings Account (HSA) to buy a medical ID.
- How can I get free medical alert bracelets?
American Medical ID regularly works with various health organizations and communities to help make medical IDs accessible to those who need them most. Please follow us on social media American Medical ID on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to receive updates on these activities.
- If you are a health organization or community who are interested to work with us, please send us a message.
- If you are a veteran or VA clinician, please visit our Veterans Medical ID Benefit page.
- Medical IDs are eligible HSA and FSA expenses.
Engraving a Medical ID
- What medical conditions should be on a medical ID?
Below are examples of medical conditions that could warrant wearing a medical ID.
- Abnormal EKG
- Adrenal Insufficiency
- Bleeding Disorder
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
- Clotting Disorder
- Diabetes (Insulin Dependent)
- Diabetes (Non-Insulin Dependent)
- Hearing Impaired
- Heart Valve Prosthesis
- Hemolytic Anemia
- Malignant Hyperthermia
- Mental Disability, such as Down's Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Aphasia or Speech Disorder
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Renal Failure
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Seizure Disorder
- Situs Inversus
- Vision Impaired
- Should medicines be listed on my medical ID?
As a rule and if space permits, it's wise to list prescription medicines that are being taken on a long-term or "maintenance" basis. This will give medical personnel better guidance on how to initiate treatment and will lessen the chance of a drug interaction.
Some classes of medicines that would be appropriate for an ID are:
- Analgesics: Includes many narcotics, such as morphine and codeine
- Antianginals: Medicines that alleviate episodes of angina
- Antiarrhythmics: Heart drugs that can correct or prevent irregular heart beats
- Anticoagulants: Blood thinners
- Anticonvulsants: Meds for seizure disorder and epilepsy
- Antihistamines, Decongestants: Prescription or over-the-counter meds for allergic rhinitis
- Antihypertensives: Blood pressure medicine
- Beta Blockers: Drugs that can slow the heart rate: Inderal, Tenormin, etc.
- Chemotherapy Agents: Drugs for treating cancer or serious infectious diseases
- Steroids: Cortisone, Decadron, etc.
- Should I list allergies on my medical ID?
Yes. Allergic reactions to drugs, foods and insects can cause serious medical problems. A medical ID informs medical personnel of an allergy, allowing for rapid response to end the reaction.
Allergens are numerous, some common examples:
- Anticonvulsants: Tegretol, Dilantin
- Aspirin: Anacin, Excedrin, Ibuprofen, Naproxyn
- Barbiturates: Phenobarbital
- Antibiotics: Penicillin, Sulfa, Cephalosporins, Mycins
- Narcotics: Codeine, Morphine, Demerol
- Others: Dairy Products, Horse Serum, Insect Stings, Latex, Lidocaine, Novocaine, Nuts, X-Ray Dye
- What other information can be placed on my medical ID?
Anything can be engraved on an ID, within space limits. Some examples of what might be wise to engrave:
- Advance Directives (DNR, etc.)
- Blood Type
- Contact Lenses
- Difficult Intubation
- Emergency Contacts (Next of Kin, Physician, etc.)
- Living Will
- Organ Donor
- See Wallet Card
- I'm not sure how my medical ID should be engraved, what do I do?
- List only those medical conditions that would be important in an emergency. For example, a minor surgery that took place several years ago may no longer be relevant to your current medical care.
- Space is limited, so summarize your information with short, descriptive words. Any information that cannot go on your medical ID bracelet or necklace can be written on a wallet or purse ID card.
- List only medicines you wish to be engraved. Generally, this would be prescription medicine, taken on a long-term daily basis. You may wish to list the most important medicines first.
If you need help deciding what to engrave, ask your physician or pharmacist, or you may call Customer Service, 1.800.363.5985.
If you're unsure about what to engrave, ask your doctor. If you need assistance phrasing a medical condition so that it will fit on your medical ID or so Emergency Medical Professionals recognize it, please call our Customer Service Representatives at 1.800.363.5985 and we'll assist you.
- Is it necessary to put my name on my medical ID?
Engraving your name on your medical ID is personal preference. However, at least a first name is recommended. A first name is especially important in an emergency, as emergency personnel will say a person's name in an effort to get their attention if they are in a daze, a diabetic coma or unconscious for example.
We recommend that all Alzheimer's patients engrave their name and address or contact information of a friend or family member.
- Once engraved can I add info to my medical ID?
- We advise only engraving information that is unlikely to change. Information on your medical ID, once engraved, cannot be removed or changed.
- How do I adjust the size of my stainless steel bracelet?
- Most of our stainless steel medical ID bracelets have adjustable sizing. It is simple and easy to do. Just watch this short Video for instructions!
- Can a jeweler resize my medical ID?
We recommend that customers take their actual wrist measurement before placing their order. The chain or band length on the product page is the length of the entire bracelet including both chain and medical ID plate. If you plan on buying a medical ID despite of its large size compared to actual wrist measurement, we recommend getting advice from a local jeweler first if they are able to take out a link and adjust the bracelet for you. We do not guarantee that all jewelers are able to resize or remove a link from our medical ID bracelets or necklaces. We are unable to resize or adjust medical ID bracelets for our customers at this time and only offer the actual sizes available as seen on the product pages.
- How do I properly insert my e•MedTAG USB Dog Tag or USB Dog Tag ID into my computer?
- Press in on the black lever on the side of the USB and slide it forward. While still holding the lever, insert the USB into your computer’s USB port. Once the USB device is full inserted into your computer you are ready to begin.
- Can I tell American Medical ID how my medical ID impacted my life?
- Yes. We would be delighted to hear how your medical ID has influenced your life. Please share your Life Story.
- I am part of a community or group that is interested to work with your company in spreading awareness of medical IDs. How do we get in touch about partnering?
American Medical ID actively supports and works with the health community in raising awareness of medical conditions and the critical role that medical IDs play in an emergency situation. Please send us a message via our contact page to tell us more about your organization and how we can collaborate.
- Why does it take so long to make a medical ID?
- Our medical IDs are custom-engraved and custom-sized to reflect our customers exact requests. Considering we strive for accuracy and quality, once an order has been received and the medical ID has been engraved, the order is examined multiple times ensuring complete accuracy. The jewelry is then polished and packaged with care before it is sent to the customer.
- Should I tell my doctor that I purchased a medical ID?
We encourage our customers to inform their doctor that they have purchased a medical ID. Just as they would tell their doctor about new medicines or changes in their health, so should they tell their doctor about their medical ID.
When you receive your American Medical ID bracelet or necklace, you'll find a Healthcare Provider Approval Card. On your next visit, show your doctor your medical ID and give him the Healthcare Provider Approval Card. If your doctor approves your ID’s engraving, we'll add a one-year engraving warranty to your account.
If, however, your doctor thinks you should have engraved additional information, we’ll be happy to add that important information for a small fee. Then you’ll have another opportunity to get your doctor’s approval and engraving warranty.
The customer is responsible for returning the medical ID.
- How can I get order forms?
- Click here for medical ID order forms and support materials.
- How do I redeem my Gift Card?
Select your medical ID online and proceed to the Shopping Cart page. Enter the Gift Card number under the Gift Cards section. The Gift Card number is included in the confirmation email at time of purchase. Click "Proceed to Checkout" and complete your purchase. Or you may call us at 800.363.5985 during regular business hours and place your order with one of our Customer Service representatives.
- How will my Gift Card be shipped?
- You will receive your e-Gift Card via email at time of purchase.
- May I use my Gift Card and a credit card to purchase items?
- Gift Cards may be used in combination with a credit card to complete your transaction.
- Do American Medical ID Gift Cards expire?
- Your American Medical ID gift card is valid for 1 year following date of purchase.