Tattoos have been around forever, but their versatility has evolved over the ages, and from being simple art on the body, they have gone on to become statements of personality, fashion trends, and their latest use is that they are being used as alerts to identify medical patients. Interesting? Keep reading to know more about medical tattoos, how and why to get one, and their benefits!
If you are suffering from a severe medical condition that makes you lose consciousness, or get fits, or some other equally traumatizing symptom, then it seems logical that you wear some sort of an identification to let other know that you are suffering from a particular disease, and that, in case you faint or are not in a condition to respond, they should call the paramedics. Such identifications have been in existence for quite some time now, in the form of medical IDs, necklaces, bracelets, and the like.
But the problem with these kinds of identifications is that they are prone to fall off, or get lost or separate from the body in case of accidents. Then there arises a problem if you faint/ get fits/ etc. Because in such situations, the first thing people do is to try to revive you using the common first aid means that they are aware of, and the thought of looking into your pockets to check for your ID may not occur to them. If it doesn’t, it is very much likely that crucial minutes may be wasted when they could have called the paramedics instead and rushed you to the hospital.
In situations such as the one mentioned above, it is very helpful if you have some identification on your body, that clearly states that you suffer from a certain disease and what that disease is. If a clear sign is visible, then they will surely check for more information in your wallet, like your doctor’s name, number, and your hospital’s address. It is a lot more helpful and can avoid unnecessary complications.
Such medical tattoos also have no chance of getting lost, fading away, or getting separated from your body. It’s an improved and more reliable way of conveying information, and is a one time event. You don’t have keep updating it, or getting new ones, as in the case of medical jewelry that may get lost. Let’s go into the details in the following paragraphs.
Why to Get a Medical Tattoo?
There are many reasons as to why you should get a medical tattoo if you are suffering from a disease. Here are the reasons for it…
- When they are engraved in proper places, they are very easily noticeable and a lot of searching is not necessary.
- They can help save crucial time, in case you suddenly start suffering from the symptoms and need to be rushed to the hospital.
- They are a permanent solution, and do not get lost, broken, or fade with time.
- They can grab attention better than jewelry, specially if you like wearing lots of accessories, making your medical jewelry indistinguishable from the rest of your jewelry.
What to Keep in Mind while Getting a Medical Tattoo
A tattoo is a permanent mark on your body and it’s not very easy to get it off, although there are many treatments available nowadays to get rid of tattoos when you get bored of them, or think that you don’t need them anymore. But even then, here are a few important factors that you should consider before you get a medical tattoo for yourself.
- Firstly, consider the nature of your illness. There are two factors to be considered.
- Health Risks: In health risks, you should consider whether getting a tattoo is suitable as regards the illness you are suffering from. If you are suffering from diabetes, then getting a medical tattoo may prove to be a tad risky, and will take more time to heal, since diabetes doesn’t assist in healing. Similarly consider the risks associated with whichever disease you are suffering from, talk to your doctor and let him know that you are planning to get a tattoo, so that he can tell you whether it is safe or not.
- Duration of Illness: Another important thing to remember is that tattoos are permanent, so if the nature of your illness is not permanent, then once your illness is cured, you may regret getting a tattoo, and even find it cumbersome to get rid of it. So if your disease is such that it will be cured in some particular duration, you could try opting for a less permanent way of sporting a medical alert. Jewelry will be a better solution in such cases.
- Always talk to your doctor when you are planning to put your health at any risk. With tattoos, there is a risk of infection, diseases, etc., that may just worsen your condition. So tell your doctor before you take any step, and see what he suggests.
- Next factor is the location of a medical tattoo. That is of prime importance. Medical trainers are trained to look at the wrists and neck of the patient, to check for jewelry, so it makes sense that if you are opting for a medical tattoo, you get it in a place that is easily visible to everyone.
- Size, color and information provided by the tattoo are equally important too. The size should be large enough to grab attention. Ditto with the color – usually a star of life in red color is considered as the perfect medical tattoo – and it should at least carry the name of the disease you are suffering from.
- Next, make sure that you get the tattoo in a clean area. Meaning, that you don’t already have too many tattoos around the area where you are going to get your medical tattoo done. Because then, no one will understand its significance, and most will probably end up thinking it’s another creative tattoo, if at all it manages to stand out amongst the others. If you are already sporting too many tattoos, then I’d advice you to go for other types of medical alerts that are available.
- Once you have made up your mind about getting a medical tattoo, make sure that the parlor you are going to get it from is reliable is hygienic, has an accredited tattoo artist, preferably one who has done medical tattoos before, and that he is using sterilized equipment.
- Other than this, specially if you are a diabetic, you MUST make sure that you take some necessary medical tests before opting for a tattoo. Like making sure your blood sugar level has been stable for a suitable amount of time before getting the tattoo, or other similar tests. Because sugar levels tend to drop, and you do not want to faint while getting yourself tattooed, do you? Make sure that you’ve eaten properly before the process starts.
- Strictly DO NOT get a tattoo in the sensitive areas where you usually take your shots or have blood drawn from! Like the inner part of the wrist, inner part of your elbows, or your upper arms. It may cause problems when you have to continuously keep getting injected in those very areas, and may cause allergy/ septic/ infection, etc. It will also make it difficult for the doctor to find your veins to give you your injections. Also, avoid getting a tattoo on those parts of your body that have less circulation, as this too may cause problems to your health.
- Aftercare is crucial. Get a hepatitis test after getting your tattoo done, follow the tattoo aftercare routine religiously, keep the area clean, etc…
Disadvantages of Medical Tattoos
There are a few disadvantages too. They are mainly:
- Tattoos are permanent. And once you are cured of your disease or cured enough not to require a tattoo, you may get irritated with it. It’s not very easy to get a tattoo off your skin, and the treatments are usually stretched over a few months, and pretty expensive too.
- As with jewelry, there is a chance that the tattoo may be overlooked, unless you make in inescapable by inking a bright red ‘ALERT’ above it. And there is only so much information that a tattoo can give. You cannot have an essay below the tattoo, giving information about the disease, your doctor’s name, contact information, hospital address, etc. You will have to maintain an ID for that.
That’s about it! I’ve tried to cover most points in this article about medical tattoos. Now you should be able to make an informed decision. Besides, tattoos are cool, and there are many medical tattoo ideas that you can choose from, so you need not worry about making it boring or dull. So, worth giving a shot, you think?