There are a few things that I encourage all my patients to have on them at all times. Whether evacuating from a hurricane or going to the mall, having these documents can be a life saver for you.
List of All the Medications You are Taking
By having a list of medications, you will be able to easily tell medical providers the medications you are on. It will make it easier for you and your medical providers when trying to recall all the medications whether you are in the clinic or the emergency room. The key though is to make sure your list is always updated. Some people do this by asking for a print out of their medications after every clinic visit. Others create a written or typed document on their own. Just keeping track of your medications with the appropriate dosages and how many times you take the each one per day can go a long way.
List of Allergies
If you have a life threatening allergy, having a list of your allergies can be helpful. Some people wear bracelets stating their allergies just in case things get bad and he/she is not able to verbalize them due to many reasons inlcuding
being unconscious, tired, or unable to breathe. With your list allows have the allergy and what happens when you have an allergic reaction (i.e. rash, throat swelling, itching, etc). Some people also use these bracelets to let medical providers know other things like if you may be diabetic or use certain medications.
Most Recent EKG
A few years ago, I was impressed when a patient pulled out a copy of his most recent EKG. It was a laminated piece of paper that was the size of a credit card. This patient had known heart issues. Even though everyone does not have heart disease, I think having an EKG with you whether laminated or not is good. Why? It allows doctors to have something to compare to especially if you have had abnormal findings on an EKG in the past. When doing a new EKG, we look at an old one to compare it to. If you are away from home or in a new medical system, having an old EKG can literally save lots of time and help medical providers come up with a treatment plan for you more quickly.
Access to Your Online Medical Records
Many medical centers are putting some or all of your medical records on a protected website that you can access. Some people use this on a regular basis, and others don’t even know it exists. If this is available to you, you should keep the username and password in an easily accessible place in order to pull up your medical records anytime you may need. The nice thing is that on it you can find a list of your medications and may even have a few old EKGs done. Some places even post the notes written by your medical providers. You will also be able to see your blood work results. By having this as a resource, it will allow you to be more informed about your health.