Big or small, tattoos are now mainstream, but recent outbreaks of tattoo-related infections are cause for concern.
Getting a tattoo does pose health risks. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued a report on tattoo-related skin infections in several states caused by contaminated ink. And Consumer Reports
' medical adviser says concerns go beyond skin infections.
In tattoo parlors that don't follow good infection prevention practices, there can be a risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis. But there are ways you can reduce your risks. First, keep a clear head and never drink before you ink. And avoid homemade tattoos.
Instead, find an experienced tattoo artist. Check that the artist uses individually packaged single-use kits with disposable needles and tubes and wears sterile, disposable gloves. Consumer Reports advises if you do see any sign of a rash or infection, consult a doctor.
And remember, tattoos aren't easily removed. You don't want to be stuck with something that's really ugly or down the line you're going to regret.
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(Copyright © 2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.)