Choose reputable business to minimize risk of infection from tattoo
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Friday, December 21, 2012
12/21/12 at 5:14 AM
Dear Doctor K: My teenage son wants to get a tattoo. What are the risks?
Dear Reader: Talk with your teen about why he wants one. Make sure he understands that there are dangers to getting a tattoo.
Tattoos can be permanent. If later in life your son is not happy with his decision and wants a tattoo removed, it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) and painful. Laser treatments are the most widely used technique to remove tattoos. They're not always successful, and sometimes they leave permanent scars.
There are possible dangers to having any procedure done to our bodies. The risks include:
Your son can decrease these risks by choosing a reputable tattoo studio. Contact your state Department of Public Health to find out if it licenses or certifies tattoo parlors. He or you should check out several studios before selecting one. And he should spend time watching the artist place a tattoo on someone else.
- Pain during the procedure.
- Painful skin infections (and sometimes blood infections), which can occur if the tattoo is not done under sterile conditions, or if the site is not properly cared for afterward. Recently the Journal of the American Medical Association reported cases of tattoo-related infections from mycobacteria, related to the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. Either the needles or the ink can be contaminated with bacteria.
- Even more dangerous is the possibility of a virus (such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV) being spread from a dirty needle. That's why it is essential to choose a tattoo parlor that uses proper sterile technique and sterile needles.
- Allergic reaction. Anyone may develop reactions to tattoo dye.
It is also important that your son follows "after care" instructions. The site should be kept clean and dry. He should watch for any signs of infection, including redness, pus, tenderness or fever. If any of these signs develop, contact a physician right away.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106