As the popularity of tattoos continues to grow, so do concerns about the risks involved. The spread of infection through the use of unsterilised needles is well documented, but what isn’t yet clear is the safety of the inks used. Here at Accident Advice Helpline we strongly believe that getting as much tattoo poisoning advice as possible is essential.
Proponents of tattooing claim that it is impossible to be poisoned by tattoo ink, as it never reaches the bloodstream. However, if left untreated, infections can not only damage the tattoo itself, they can lead to something significantly more dangerous, such as blood poisoning. The best advice is to avoid swimming pools, hot tubs and soaking in a bath of water during the healing period. Before the wound heals, skin is susceptible to infection and water, especially from public swimming pools, is a known source of bacteria.
Signs of infection
Classic signs of an infection are that your tattoo increases in redness, it becomes more painful and fluids weeping from the wound become yellow-greenish in colour. If any of these occur, either go back to your tattooist or see a doctor to have the infection looked at. Remember, tattoos can be red, swollen, weepy, bleeding and sore when they are first done. The more complex your design and the longer it takes, the greater the chances are of any of these symptoms occurring. What you need to be aware of is that things should improve day by day rather than deteriorate.
What are the risks?
- Allergies – allergies to pigments in ink have been reported and can cause problems
- Infection – dirty needles can pass infections like hepatitis and HIV, from person to person
- Scarring – scar tissue can form when getting or removing a tattoo
- Granulomas – small bumps sometimes form around material that the body believes is foreign, including particles of tattoo ink pigment
- MRI complications – swelling or burning in the tattoo can occur during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
What your tattoo artist should do
Your tattoo artist should go through a list of medical questions with you before doing your tattoo. There should also be a health and safety certificate on display. Your artist should also make you aware of all the appropriate aftercare practices. You should be asked about any allergies or health problems you have and detailed records of your consultation should be kept for up to two years after the tattoo is applied. A new sterile needle has to be used for every customer and your artist should clean their hands thoroughly and wear disposable latex gloves.
Stick ‘n’ poke
Never use a ‘stick ‘n’ poke’ method. This term refers to amateur tattooists and the do-it-yourself method. It is dangerous and is never recommended.Open Claim Calculator
If you develop an infection, skin condition or allergic reaction following your tattoo, you will need to prove that the injury did not develop as a result of your lack of care during the healing process or that you would have suffered from the skin condition or infection prior to the tattooing being carried out. If you would like more detailed tattoo poisoning advice give Accident Advice Helpline a call.