Cystic Fibrosis is not immediately obvious or easy to diagnose in an emergency. This genetic condition affects both the respiratory and digestive tracts, and could be directly responsible for an emergency or an important factor in putting together the right care plan.
Although your friends and family will be aware of your CF, a medical alert bracelet is a good way to communicate if you are on your own and unable to speak for yourself.
Five reasons why you should wear a medical ID for Cystic Fibrosis:
1. Avoid wasting precious time in an emergency. As it's probably not obvious that you have CF, emergency medical staff could waste vital time trying to investigate the reason why your oxygen levels are down, you have coughed up blood or your breathing sounds laboured. This is part of daily life for many people with Cystic Fibrosis, and if health professionals are aware, they can quickly move forward on the other issues in an emergency.
2. CF affects your airways. It's always important that emergency staff know about issues that affect your airway, breathing or circulation. It's part of the critical A-B-C sequence of emergency medical care.
3. When you have CF, your medical care is more complicated. There may be medication that you SHOULD HAVE, or AVOID, and your care plan needs to consider the broader implications of your CF. For example, it's important to be in a low infection risk ward, instead of being put in with other patients that may have bronchitis or pneumonia. Whatever the reason for your medical emergency, staff will be able to provide more considered care if they are aware of your condition.
4. Cystic Fibrosis can be the underlying cause of the emergency. Affecting several systems in the body, CF could directly cause an emergency situation through a collapsed lung, bowel obstruction or respiratory failure.
5. Additional conditions can complicate your care. If you have Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD), it is really important to wear an ID due to the increased risk of passing out from low blood sugar, or need to maintain your insulin if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Finding the ID that's right for you
We have a variety of choices for your Cystic Fibrosis bracelet ... that ensures you are noticed for your style, not your medical condition.
Choose a medical ID that you love, and you will get the confidence boost of knowing that you are protected every day.
When choosing what goes on your ID, we think it's important for you to describe your Cystic Fibrosis in your own words, focusing on the elements that you feel are important in an emergency. Condition information, an emergency contact, your doctor's details, or information about critical medication are all good choices.
A custom bracelet or necklace gives you the chance to put together a design that really works in your personal life too. What would make you want to wear it everyday? Feature your name as an identification bracelet? Include your catchphrase? Put your medical details in a discrete location on the back side of the tag? The choice is yours.
Specific advice for choosing the style that's right for you:
Some hospitals recommend a Cystic Fibrosis necklace rather than a bracelet, as an emergency situation could be lung related, and x-rays will need to be taken. Having your information on a necklace would help ensure it was noticed, as it has to be removed for x-rays.
Keep in mind that the extra salty nature of your skin could affect your ID. With beads, for example, glass is a good choice, instead of a painted bead that might be affected over time.
Where to go for more support?
Cystic Fibrosis Trust - UK wide charity promoting excellence in research and practical support for families.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - American charity promoting research, drug development and specialised care.
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