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A drug allergy can be a serious problem, especially in an emergency situation, where medical personnel routinely administer a large family of drugs to save lives. There are a number of ways for a patient to alert people that he or she has a drug allergy, and it is a good idea to make sure that multiple forms of notification are carried at all times, so that the message is clearly conveyed. Patients should remember that they may not always be able to communicate with people providing medical care.
Medic alert bracelets and necklaces are a common way to inform people about drug allergies. Medical alert jewelry comes in an array of styles, and people can usually find a version which fits with their personal aesthetic while conveying important medical information. Medic alert tags for purses, suitcases, and briefcases are also available.
Carrying a health information card in one's wallet and/or purse is also a good idea. The card can contain information about a drug allergy along with someone's blood type and any existing medical conditions. Carrying such a card in the glove box of a vehicle is also a good idea, as emergency personnel may go through a glove box to get information about a driver in an accident.
Another option is to carry the information in a cell phone. Most cell phones have an “emergency contact” field where people can enter information about who to call in the event of an emergency, along with a field for notes. This field can be used to describe drug allergies and other issues. A digital camera can also be used to store drug allergy information: take a photograph of a page of medical information and lock it so that it will remain at the front of the memory card, thereby ensuring that when the camera is turned on, people will see the drug allergy notification along with any other relevant medical information.
Another option used by some members of the military and emergency services is to tattoo drug allergy information. While this method may seem a bit extreme, it ensures that the information cannot be separated from the patient. Some people also have “do not resuscitate” tattoos. Such tattoos are commonly located on the chest or inner wrist to make them highly visible.
There's another important place to log drug allergy information: your medical chart. People with drug allergies should confirm that information about their allergies is prominently listed in their medical charts, and on file at the pharmacies they use. A note at the pharmacy can be life saving, as the pharmacist will note drug allergies when formulating and dispensing drugs.
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