Tattoos and piercings: if done lightly, they can cause serious infections

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Carlos Laforet Coll

Before getting a tattoo or a piercing, always check the seriousness of the facility you are contacting. And avoid do-it-yourself!

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Tattoos e piercing: it is alarm iinfections. That's right: if you are going to "beautify" your body, know that this is not something to be taken lightly. Find out and, above all, evaluate the hygiene of the instruments you will end up under.

More and more loved by young people, these adornment practices can cause infections and liver damage very easily. A research conducted by the University of Tor Vergata on 2500 high school students involved with an anonymous questionnaire, found, in fact, that 24% of them had infectious complications, while only 17% signed an informed consent and only 54% did it is proven safe of the sterility of the tools that have been used.

The data showed that all too often the execution of tattoos and piercings takes place in non-certified premises that do not even comply with basic hygiene standards, or it even happens with do-it-yourself practices and with inadequate artisanal tools that can be vehicles for the transmission of infectious diseases, through the blood.

It is a question, for example, above all of those produced by the hepatitis B and C virus - HBV and HCV - and by the AIDS virus - HIV, which can also lead to death. In addition, it also appears that the inoculation of uncontrolled chemicals into the skin poses a risk of unwanted toxicological reactions or allergic sensitization.

"If 80% of the children said they were aware of the risks of infection, only 5% are correctly informed about the diseases that can be transmitted - explains Dr. Carla Di Stefano, author of the survey and researcher at the University of Tor Vergata. Yet 27% of the sample declared having at least one piercing, 20% sporting a tattoo and even more 'aspirants': 20% of the interviewees declared their intention to get a piercing and 32% to adorn the skin with a tattoo “.

A problem, that of HCV infection, which the study also focused on "Association of tattooing and hepatitis C virus infection: a multicenter case control study”Published in Hepatology, where it is shown how the infection is mainly transmitted through the reuse of disposable needles, non-sterilization of materials and reuse of ink contaminated with infected blood. Risks that increase when such procedures are performed by beginners, in poorly hygienic facilities and where tools are not sterilized or improvised tools are used.

The solution? There is and how the boys must know: better not to turn to ambiguous and super-economic centers and always check that disposable and correctly sterilized material is used.

Germana Carillo

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