Medical alert jewelry is a popular product for people with certain medical conditions or personal wishes related to medical emergencies. Medical alert tattoos serve as a modern approach to providing notifications, without wearing the jewelry.

What are medical alert tattoos? What are some types of medical alert tattoos? What are the advantages, and disadvantages? What are the alternatives to medical alert tattoos?

Exploring this growing trend potentially helps you understand medical alert tattoos, and decide if this is the ideal choice for you. Perhaps the alternatives are a better option for you, and your wishes in the event of a possible life-altering emergency.

What are Medical Alert Tattoos?

Medical alert tattoos are permanent tattoos applied to the body that take the place of a medical alert bracelet, or other jewelry that provides information about your medical conditions, or perhaps certain allergies.

When an individual chooses to get a medical alert tattoo, this eliminates lost or broken medical alert jewelry, and the cost of replacing it. Some people likely forget to wear their medical alert jewelry every day. This is another reason that some people may choose tattoos over wearing jewelry that specifies a medical directive, provides information about medical conditions, or specific drug or food allergies.

The tattoo option potentially provides an effective way for people with metal allergies, typically the composition of medical alert jewelry, to provide notifications to first responders.

What are the Types of Medical Alert Tattoos?

Some individuals choose their wrist, while others choose their chest for placement of a medical alert tattoo. The chest is a popular placement for medical tattoos with information, such as if the person has a pacemaker. Some individuals choose a tattoo placed on their chest with directives, such as ‘Do Not Resuscitate.'

The type of tattoos vary, likely mimicking the same style of medical alert jewelry for particular conditions that indicates that an individual has diabetes, cancer, a heart condition, or allergies, such as an allergy to penicillin.

One type of medical alert tattoo that possibly varies is those that provide instructions in case of medical emergency. Some types of tattoos provide a full statement, while emergency room personnel or first responders report coming across abbreviated medical alerts, such as ‘DNR.'

Issues with the meaning of tattoos resulted in recent suggestions for uniformity in the types of medical alert tattoos, particularly given their growing popularity. Universal designs for diabetes tattoos, or seizure disorders, for example, immediately provide notification that the person experiences a certain condition, rather than the possibility that the individual is a supporter of diabetes or epilepsy research or treatment.

A MedPage Today contributor quoted researcher Saleh Aldasouqi, MD, from the Sparrow Diabetes Center of Michigan State University in East Lansing. Aldasouqi expressed the need for guidelines, including making the tattoos easily recognizable to first responders.

Disadvantages of a Medical Alert Tattoo

Medical alert tattoos potentially provide a variety of benefits for patients, and medical personnel. There are some disadvantages to opting for a medical alert tattoo over the traditional medical alert bracelet or other medical alert jewelry.

Individuals with diabetes have possible issues with skin infections or inflammation, particularly when the person experiences injuries. Getting a tattoo of any kind potentially poses a risk for diabetics. Check with a doctor before getting a tattoo.

First responders and emergency personnel do not always look for medical alert tattoos. Some first responders are likely not aware of the growing trend of opting for medical alert tattoos over traditional options. When this occurs, there is a risk that the individual’s needs or wishes initially go unnoticed.

Some people choose to get a tattoo directive in an abbreviated form. This possibly poses a problem because there is no way to know for sure if that ‘DNR' abbreviation for an individual patient indeed serves as a ‘Do not resuscitate' notice or if it has another meaning, such as initials of a person‘s name.

There are possible legal issues related to the tattoos, which possibly vary from one area to another area or from one medical institution to another institution.

Alternatives to Medical Alert Tattoos

There are more comprehensive alternatives to medical alert tattoos that can potentially be life saving. These devices are called medical alert systems and are the best way to keep those with medical conditions safe. Consider some of the following options below:

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical offers medical alert services at the push of a button. Customers choose from a variety of medical alert products and services that best meets their individual needs.

The in-home personal emergency alert system features a built-in, high-output speaker, and a sensitive microphone that allows for exceptionally clear two-way communication during emergencies.

Take it with you when on vacation or visiting family. Your Bay Alarm Medical personal emergency response system simply plugs in at any location with a standard landline telephone.

Opt for the 4G-LTE cellular option if you do not have a landline phone. The mobile option goes anywhere that you go, offering 24-hour emergency protection, with reliable, proven technology.

Choose on the road, or bundled options for the ideal medical alert products and services.

Receive a 30-day risk-free trial and free shipping when you choose medical alert options from Bay Alarm Medical.


MobileHelp features medical alert system options that protect customers at home and away from home.

The MobileHelp Classic option provides two-way communication at home, 24-hour emergency monitoring services, and free equipment when you subscribe to the service plan.

Consider the MobileHelp Solo in-home and away cellular alert system, or the duo options.

No landline is required. Add optional fall detection for greater protection. There are no long-term contracts or hidden fees.

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian medical alert systems helps provide a sense of security, and independence for individuals when at home, and away from home. The company offers in-home system options that likely fit any budget.

The one touch alert signal, wide coverage areas, and other features provide a variety of medical alert options. The mobile alert devices go wherever you go, and offer unlimited range, cellular connection, and either GPS or Wi-Fi location tracking.

All Medical Guardian alert systems provide clear reception, and quick, reliable response.

Best Medical Alert Tattoo Alternative
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Bay Alarm Medical Offers the Best Alternative to a Medical Alert Tattoo
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