Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 03:08 AM IST
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Let's get inked with care - Deccan Herald
Let's get inked with care
Dr Ravindra BS,
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Close up tattoo artist demonstrates the process of getting black and red tattoo with orange paint. Master works on the professional blue mat in black sterile gloves.

Youngsters today love to experiment with their looks and many have started indulging in body art and piercings. Although it is fashionable and beautiful, tattooing is a form of art that can prove fatal to your health. Getting pierced or tattooed without appropriate precaution could give you hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C are some of the major causes of infections and death around the world. The hepatitis virus can be transmitted through unsterilised or reused needles. Hepatitis B is highly infectious and even 0.03 ml blood is sufficient to spread the virus.

The dangers
If you are a regular customer at roadside beauty parlours or saloon, then you need to be cautious as the virus can spread even through the use of unsterilised and reused blades. The virus can be transmitted through shaving blades especially if the infected person has suffered a cut and the wound is open.

Hepatitis B and C are fatal because of the permanent liver damage they cause with an increased probability of liver cancer. It doesn’t just put you at risk, but also your progeny since the disease is hereditary. People should be extremely careful, as the initial symptoms of these conditions are difficult to detect. They can either go unnoticed or come unannounced with full vigour often ending in hospitalisation.

Rahul, 38-year-old techie from Bengaluru, who loved getting tattooed suffered from severe swelling in his leg followed by jaundice. He tested positive for hepatitis B with liver damage. With no family history of the disease and not having undergone blood transfusions or surgeries, there was only possible explanation. Doctors suspected that Rahul had contracted the virus from unsterilised needles used during tattooing.

The precautions required for such procedures are imperative and inescapable.
The government has launched affordable vaccines and has included the hepatitis vaccine in their immunisation schedule.

Hepatitis is not as difficult to treat as HIV. Insist on getting a fresh pack of needles and inks before the start of the procedure.

The use of new needles for every injection can prevent hepatitis to manifest itself into a liver damage.

Fresh needles alone are not sufficient, as the ink that the needle is dipped into can be infected. Ensure that the tattoo artist uses new ink, ink pot, gloves, and cotton swabs each time.

Tattooing might be fun, but make sure that you visit clean tattoo shops or
parlours and verify if the environment is sterilised. Make sure that the place is
reputable and the equipment is well-maintained.

Follow appropriate steps post the procedure to allow the skin to heal properly and to avoid infections.

(The author is chief of gastroenterology, BGS Glenegales Global Hospital.)