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Men Health » Health Risks Associated with Body Piercing/ Tattooing

Tattooing or ear/body piercing has become increasingly common among youngsters. Tattoos on humans are a type of decorative body modification. These procedures may however, increase the risk of encountering a number of serious blood borne diseases.

Because it requires breaking the skin barrier, tattooing may carry the health risks including infections and allergic reactions. It is also possible to transmit viral infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS or Herpes through tattooing and piercing, as well as bacterial skin infections such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.

The following can be done to minimize the risk associated with tattooing/body piercing:

• Be sure that the work area is clean.

• Check that the shop uses instruments that are easily cleaned and sterilized, like stainless steel.

• Be sure that the needle used for tattooing is sterilized and wiped with alcohol and covered with new disposable plastic bag.

• Tattoos and piercing needle should be new and sterile for each treatment. They should never be reused.

• Practitioners should wear medical gloves during the process.

• Make sure all the surfaces are cleaned with bleach and water.

• Work surfaces are made of smooth and non-porous materials.

• Sharp implements used to pierce the skin should be put into puncture resistant containers.

• Waste should be disposed off properly, with blood contaminated waste placed in plastic bags and tied before being added to the regular waste.

• Oral and written instructions should be given to the clients for personal care after the procedure.  

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