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Health Risks of Tattooing and Piercing

How To Minimize Risk Involved

Tattooing and piercing are permanent makeup procedures that may increase the risk of contracting a number of serious blood-borne diseases. All consumers should be aware of the risks involved in order to make an informed decision. Since instruments used in tattoo and piercing come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, diseases may be transmitted if the instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized.

Skin and mucous membranes in the mouth and nose protect us from many infections. Both tattooing and piercing procedures involve piercing the skin or mucous membrane with a needle or other sharp instrument. Infections and diseases that could be transmitted via the use of unsterilized tattoo equipment include surface infections of the skin, tetanus, staph, some forms of hepatitis, and HIV, and in some cases even allergic reactions. Consumers involved in the process may also have bacteria or viruses present on their skin that can enter their body and cause infection when their skin is pierced. Practitioners who do the tattooing and piercing are also at risk of becoming infected through accidental cuts and punctures.

The best protection against infection and disease is to carefully choose where you obtain your tattoo or piercing. So, take the time to find a good professional artist. Good professional artists wants your whole experience to be positive and will be just as concerned as you are about preventing infections and producing good art work.

Before you are considering getting a tattoo or having your body pierced at the particular establishment, check with the local health department and with the staff at that establishment what sterilization procedures they use to prevent the spread of infections. Don't hesitate to ask many questions, and make sure you get satisfactory answers. If the artist can't or won't answer all of your questions, don't be intimidated or afraid to leave and find a different artist. Keep in mind that it's your body, your money and your choice.

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