Safe Tattooing How is it done? Things to remember before getting a tattoo: What are the risks? Hepatitis B Hepatitis C: HIV/AIDS:

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1 Safe Tattooing How is it done? A tattoo consists of pigmentation that is inserted into the second layer of the skin. A vertical vibrating instrument is used to inject the pigment 50 to 3000 times per minute. A single needle is used for the outline of the tattoo while the filling is done with 5 to 7 needles. Things to remember before getting a tattoo: A tattoo is permanent, which might be something you would like to remember when choosing where you want to put it. The procedure to remove one is very costly and can scar. You might want to choose a place where it can be hidden easily as it might not impress a potential employer at a job interview. Also, a tattoo on the stomach isn t such a good idea for women. With pregnancy, the tattoo will stretch and will be deformed even once your pregnancy is over. A tattoo takes about 4 weeks to heal, but it should stop being sore after 7 to 10 days. The care of a tattoo is very important if you want it to heal properly. The area must be kept clean and moisturized until the tattoo has healed. What are the risks? A new tattoo can become a source of infection. The body may work to reject it. Also some people might be allergic to certain pigments which may result in an allergic reaction and thick scars. If the equipment used on you is not well sterilized, you could catch a blood-borne disease such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. People with a tattoo are 9 times more likely to carry hepatitis C. Hepatitis B: Many people infected with the hepatitis B virus recover completely and develop lifelong immunity to the virus. Unfortunately, about 90 per cent of babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B carriers have a high chance of developing chronic HBV in later life, which can lead to diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. A vaccine against hepatitis B is available. Hepatitis C: Up to 90 per cent of infected persons carry HCV indefinitely. Over the long term, they are at risk of such illnesses as profound fatigue, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C. HIV/AIDS: The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV attacks the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness and leaving infected people vulnerable to opportunistic infections and cancers. The median time from infection to AIDS diagnosis now exceeds 10 years. AIDS is fatal. There is no cure.

2 Personal precautions There are certain precautions you can take in order to reduce your risk of infection for tattooing. The most important is to choose a good professional practitioner that is trained in tattooing. Never tattoo skin that has a cut or break, pimples, warts or other abnormalities. Make sure the practitioner disinfects the skin area before the procedure. Wash your hands thoroughly before applying lotions or ointments to the tattooed area after the procedure. Get the hepatitis B vaccine. Professional precautions It is crucial that all instruments used for tattooing are sterile in order to prevent infection and blood-borne diseases. Hepatitis C can survive from a few hours to 7 days outside the human body, hepatitis B from 7 to 28 days. Make sure that the person performing the procedure has washed their hands before and after the procedure, after handling contaminated items, before opening and handling sterile supplies, before putting on his or her gloves, and make sure that he or she wears disposable, single-use gloves during the procedure. Look around When you come in, look around. Is the shop clean, well lit? Know what to look for An autoclave: heat sterilization machine, to sterilize all packaged equipment that is nondisposable. The equipment is packaged after cleaning and prior to sterilization. Sterile needles and a biohazard container: make sure the needles are sterilized or autoclaved. You do not want them using the same needle as the previous client. Tattoo ink: make sure that the practitioner doesn t reuse the ink for a tattoo. Ask questions Ask the practitioner about his or her training? Ask how the equipment is cleaned and sterilized? Be suspicious If you feel uncomfortable, or that something is wrong, do not get the procedure done there. When getting a tattoo, it is not time to bargain shop. Don t go to a friend s house to have it done just because it s free. Yes, tattooing is expensive but you are better off saving your money and getting a beautifully done tattoo than spending little money and be stuck with a flower tattoo that looks like a blob.

3 Here are things you should look for in a tattoo shop: Autoclave shown here with test strips (monthly test have to be done and sent in to test the autoclave) and the report. You can request the monthly test results from the shop. Ultrasonic cleaner often used to clean needle bars.

4 The spray bottle is covered with a plastic wrap to protect the bottle from contamination during the procedure. Disposable razor and disposable tattoo stencil.

5 Disposable ink caps, disposable elastics, Vaseline, disposable gloves. Tattooing gun covered with plastic to prevent contaminating the gun and the cord during the procedure.

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