COPPERAS COVE (october 23, 2012)--There has been an increase in people getting tattoos as medical bracelets to alert others of their allergies and health concerns.
Tony Lubcker and Laura Plautz of Central Texas have gotten several matching tattoos in the seven years that they dated, such as matching tattoos of their wedding date in place of wedding bands.
"It's more permanent, easier to see and can't get lost," said Lubcker.
Now, they're getting matching tattoos that could save their lives.
"If something happens and I can't talk, hopefully when the EMT checks my pulse, he'll see this so that they don't create further problems," Lubcker said.
Lubcker is a mechanic, but he's allergic to tetanus, often used to treat injuries with metal, rust and nails.
His wife Laura Plautz is allergic to pork products and erythromycin, commonly found in antibiotics.
"I would be extremely sick and have problems breathing," Plautz said.
The couple say wearing jewelry on their hands is dangerous and inconvenient for their jobs.
"I don't have time to stop and take a ring off or take a bracelet off that might get hooked on to something," Plautz said.
Although most health insurance does not cover the cost of these tattoos, those with allergies say the benefits are well worth it.
"At the very least, if there is an accident, they'll know what not to give me," Plautz said.
The increase in medical bracelet tattoos has given tattoo parlor owners like Navida Smith of Pinstripes Tattoo & Body Piercings an incentive to help those with allergies.
"Tattooing as a whole is looked down upon, so to have something positive and be able to give back to a community that supports us is a wonderful thing," Smith said.
Pinstripes Tattoo & Body Piercing in Copperas Cove is offering Type I Diabetes medical bracelet tattoos free of charge. For all other allergies, the cost is $30. You must bring medical records or a doctor's note to get a medical tattoo bracelet.
Pinstripes Tattoo & Body Piercing is located at 2520 E. HWY 190 in Copperas Cove.