Tattoos in the Medical Field

medical alert tattoo

Tattoos aren’t a new fad. A minimum of 36 percent of Americans between 18 and 25 have at most one tattoo. A new trend in tattoo design is medical alert tattoos. These can be used to inform others that you have diabetes, or even give them instructions not to resuscitate. These are just a few of the things that you need in order to get this kind of tattoo.

Medical Alerts at a New Level

You have probably seen someone walking down the street with a familiar metal or red band on their wrist, with the Caduceus symbol. While you may not be able identify what the person is allergic to, or what their disease is, you can recognize a medical alarm bracelet. This bracelet is a classic for people who have medical conditions. The new trend in medical alert tattoos is becoming popular among both young and old.

You can find these tattoos all over your body in different sizes. They can be simple or elaborate, but all have one purpose: to alert doctors about a condition. These tattoos can be worn in place of medical bracelets, for those who are unable or unwilling to wear them.


Types of Common Medical Alert Tattoos

Any type of allergy or disease can have medical alert tattoos created. However, there are some that are more common and can lead to serious diseases or even death.



There are many tattoos that alert people to allergies to penicillin or peanut butter. Anaphylactic shock can result from allergies. If you are not aware, it’s important that medical personnel be aware of your medication allergies.

Caduceus, which has the wording “allergic”, is the most commonly used design for an allergy medical tat. You might also see some that have intricate designs or resemble a medical bracelet. There are many med tats that can be used to treat allergies, but the majority of people who use them will use the Caduceus as it will notify medical professionals instantly.



If you’re a diabetic or have been diagnosed, you will know the effects that low blood sugar can have on a person. Some medications can also have an effect on blood sugar in emergency situations. A paramedic or doctor should be able to identify the person immediately if they have this disease. If a person shows confusion, dizziness, or slurred speaking, the first thing a responder needs to do is to check their blood sugar.

A diabetic medical alarm can be sent in a number of different designs. The alert will usually include information about the person and their type (1 or 2) You might also see a blue circle that is a symbol for the condition. It might also include a Caduceus icon with a circle in the background. Others include the staff and Asclepius symbols, as well as the asterisk or hexagon of the medical alert symbol. People can choose from many different color schemes depending on their individual preferences.


Heart Conditions

You might also find a tattoo referring to a cardiac disorder. These tattoos can alert you to heart implants like pacemakers or defibrillators. They can also alert others to a condition such as atrial fibrillation.

While these designs could include the Caduceus (staff of Asclepius), they may also have original elements, such as a symbol to defibrillator. Some designs might include a heart symbol or a stethoscope. Some designs even include jumper cables.



Although asthma is usually treatable, it can quickly escalate to a medical emergency if you are unable or unconscious to communicate. Asthmatic patients need to be able to communicate with medical professionals. As with all medical alerts, asthma alarms can come in many forms.

This design may include a simple Asclepius Staff with the word Asthma or Aspirin woven through. You can add banners and other details such as inhalers to make the design more interesting. You can combine this tat to other images like pointing out that opiates should not be given with a decorative poppy.

A medical alert tattoo is for those suffering from asthma and requires no opiates


Epilepsy, another common condition, requires a medical alert. An epileptic medication tat can be taken in a variety of forms. These can include a purple ribbon or butterfly, as well as medical symbols. No matter which symbol is used, the epilepsy or epileptic words are always included with the instructions.


Where to Put It

This type of tattoo should be placed in a visible place. Although you may see it on your leg, shoulder or back, it will not serve its purpose unless it’s visible. Most medical personnel won’t notice this type of medical alert because it isn’t regulated and it is new. This is why the tattoo is often placed on the wrist, forearm or chest. These are all common areas that an EMT/doctor will find immediately.

It should also be legible. It is not helpful for paramedics to see a medical alert tattoo if they are unable to read it. Make your medical alert tat larger and stick it in a visible place.


Things to Think About

Every tattoo you get can be changed. It is important to consider the ink you get for medical alert tattoos. The tattoo is permanent and can’t be lost. There are many benefits to it. It is also a good alternative for people who are allergic or uncomfortable with bracelets. Experts warn you that there are some drawbacks.

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