Category: Disease

iPhone: Is it also a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Did you get a new iPhone over the holidays, already have an iPhone or are considering getting one?  Whether you are a new or old Apple user, there is a great feature that could apply to you! Have you noticed the “emergency” button on the screen where you enter your 4 number passcode?  This is a cool feature, especially for those who have health problems, such as Type 1 diabetes.  In this area, you can enter your name, medical conditions, allergies, and an emergency contact information.

What does this mean to you?  If you are unconscious or having a medical emergency wherein you cannot communicate, your phone could literally save your life.

This feature is fairly easy to set up.  To set up your information, follow these easy steps:


  • Step 1: Go to the “Health application” on your phone.


  • Step 2: There should be a button on the bottom that says “Medical ID” and looks like a *. If you click on that logo, you come to a page where you can enter the information you wish to fill out.


  • Step 3: Enter the information you want entered. Make sure the “Show When Locked” is selected!


  • Step 4: Click “Done” when you are finished putting in your information.

Follow these easy steps to retrieve your “Medical ID” information:


  • Step 1: Now, when you are on the locked screen, if you select “Emergency,” a logo on the bottom will appear that says “Medical ID” below the keypad.


  • Step 2: If you click on “Medical ID,” the information you entered will be present on the screen.

In the past, people with medical conditions wore “medical alert” bracelets, which were institutional looking bracelets (sometimes made cuter with beads and other decor) or, more recently, they actually got medical alert tattoos (on one’s arm or wrist).  Are cell phones the future of medical identification?  Would you consider using this feature on an iPhone to allow people to have vital emergency information about you?


Photo Credit: Main Image by: Kimberly Hislop. All other photos by: Amanda Mezer

Got shots?

“I’m going to Disney World!”

Well, maybe not, since the California Department of Public Health confirmed 59 cases of measles in that state since the end of December 2014, of which 42 were linked to Anaheim’s Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park.

The CDC's website presented this graph showing the recent dramatic spike in U.S. measles cases.

The CDC’s website presented this graph showing the recent dramatic spike in U.S. measles cases.

In 2000 measles was officially declared eliminated in the United States because of high levels of population immunity achieved by high levels of vaccination. However, it is a small world, after all; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked nearly half of 2014’s unprecedented number of measles importations into the U.S. to travel to the Philippines during an outbreak in that country. The CDPH has confirmed the vaccination status of the sufferers in 34 of the 59 current cases; 28 were unvaccinated.

“Vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent measles,” the CDPH states. “Two doses of measles-containing vaccine… are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles.”

Many Americans—indeed, many young doctors– have never seen a case of measles, so a description bears repeating: “Measles is a highly infections, airborne disease that typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes,” the CDPH press release states. “Within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face and then spreading downward to the rest of the body.” Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts through four days afterwards, according to the CDC. Complications can include pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

The CDC’s Jan. 23 Health Advisory notes the current outbreak is limited to Western states (California, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska and Arizona) as of that writing. The CDPH advises people who think they may have been exposed to contact their health provider by phone to avoid the spread of the disease in doctor’s offices.