June 11, 2010

A Parent’s Guide to the Health Risks of Piercings and Tattoos

Filed under: HIV,infection — Tags: — drwatson @ 12:02 am

tattoo safety, piercing, piercing safetyThese days, most teenagers have some sort of piercing, and if they don’t have them, then there’s a good chance that they want one. And although few teenagers have tattoos because the law requires parent’s consent for minors to be able to get a tattoo; again, it’s likely that your child has thought about getting a tattoo at least once or twice. As a concerned parent, you know you want what’s best for your child, and it’s important to make sure that they understand the possible implications of their “dream tattoo” or new body piercing.


A tattoo can be completely harmless for some, aside from initial irritation and swelling, if they ensure that they choose a tattoo professional that adheres to universal sanitary precautions and if they ensure that they properly care for the newly tattooed area afterwards. Although most tattoo parlors in Canada and the United States adhere to strict policies to prevent the spread of illnesses, there is always a risk of infection, allergic reaction, and the transmission of diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis, and although it has never been documented, it is possible to transmit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during the tattooing process as well as a result of the use of unsterile needles. Tattoos can cause complications with magnetic resonance imaging tests (MRI); reports show that people with tattoos often feel an unpleasant burning sensation or experience swelling. Tattoos aren’t for everyone. Certain people, who are allergic to tattoo pigments or prone to developing keloid scars should not get tattoos.


Piercings aren’t uncommon. In fact, close to seventy-three percent of women have had their ears pierced at some point in their life. Because piercings involve needle punctures in the skin, there are several risks associated with piercings, especially if they are not well cared for, or if unsterilized equipment is used. Like tattoos, piercings run the risk of bacterial infections and transmission of diseases including HIV, hepatitis and any other disease that is transmitted through blood. Allergic reactions are also not unheard of for any type of piercing and can make every day life just a little more painful, depending on where the piercing is. Different piercings heal at different rates, and it’s important to care for your piercing afterwards to prevent any negative effects.

If your child is still set on their dream piercing or tattoo, to the point where they’ll do it whether you want them to or not, it may be better to take them to a legitimate tattoo parlor or piercing establishment, to ensure that the procedure is up to health standards. To minimize your child’s risk, ensure that the establishment is clean, brightly lit, uses sterile needles and cleaning practices and that the practitioners additionally wear gloves.

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