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The Issue Of Health Risks And Tattoos

May 25, 2008
Any health risks related to commercial tattooing are usually exaggerated and sometimes people will go as far as to mount campaigns against tattoo shops opening up in their neighborhoods. Tattoo shops have come a long way from once being a taboo practice to now being one of the fastest growing categories of retail business.

These shops and establishments are now extending into areas that they previously would not have been in. A number of such locations are the different middle-class cities in the United States and the world over. Media establishments have fuelled the association of tattoos with health risks by linking the practice to widely feared diseases and conditions such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.

History has never had a case of HIV transmission occurring through a tattooing that took place in the United States. In contrast to this fact however, more than five documented cases of HIV transmission has been linked to dentists and dental workers.

In reality, there has never been a real documented case of HIV transmission occurring via tattooing anywhere in the United States. On the other hand however, more than five cases of HIV transmission through dentists and dental workers have been experienced.

Tattooing is usually associated with health risks primarily because it tends to involve needles as well as blood. When tattoo artists stick to the right processes of sterilization and sanitation, lesser chances exit for disease transmission to happen. When practices which are not sterile are used then tattoo artists experience a risk of syphilis, hepatitis B as well as a number of other conditions.

Issues concerning any health risks which may be related to tattooing largely exist because tattooing involves needles and blood. If the tattoo artists involved stick to the right sterilization and sanitation procedures, lesser chances that disease transmission will occur exist. If non sterile practices are used then there is a risk of syphilis, hepatitis B, and other diseases.

Infections can occur in new tattoos, especially without appropriate aftercare. Some people also experience allergic reactions to tattoo inks. Although the pigments used may have U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for other purposes, the FDA does not regulate tattoo inks. Tattoo artists must also take special safety measures regarding their hands. Gloves help prevent disease transmission from bodily fluids, but bacteria thrive in the warm, damp environment they create. This means that artists must: wash hands thoroughly and often, inspect hands for cuts or sores and cover them with bandages, remove hangnails and keep nails short to prevent punctures to gloves, and refrain from tattooing when experiencing lesions, dermatitis or allergic reactions.

Because of the stringent rules and safety precautions that are enforced regarding tattooing, salons are generally very cautious when giving tattoos. There are health risks related to tattooing when the proper sterilization procedures are not followed and salons are very aware of them. It is considered that getting a tattoo in the United States is a very safe and almost clinical procedure and there should be no concerns as long as you are dealing with a reputable tattoo salon.
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