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Getting a Tattoo? Follow These Recommendations to Protect Your Health

Post Date:08/10/2017 3:51 p.m.

It is easy to get a tattoo within a matter of a few hours. However, there are many factors one should consider prior to ‘getting inked’. There are health risks that can be associated with getting tattoos. In addition to basic complications like allergic reactions and skin problems, there can also be more serious medical risks including skin infections, tetanus, hepatitis and even HIV.

In North Carolina under North Carolina General Statute 130A-283, it is illegal for a person to engage in tattooing without the required permit.  Receiving a tattoo from a person operating illegally without a permit may expose you to one or more of the serious health risks mentioned above.

Establishments operating under North Carolina law have had to meet the required standards of hygiene such as possessing an autoclave (for the sterilizing of tattoo instruments), a sink for handwashing, and proper storage and disposal of solid waste. They have to demonstrate that their work area or studio is kept clean and in a good state of repair, maintain records pertaining to autoclave tests and records of each client. In addition the artists must be able to demonstrate knowledge of proper aseptic techniques.

The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services offers some basic recommendations when deciding to get a tattoo:

  • Assure the establishment has the proper permit

  • Assure the artist has experience

  • Observe the sterilization of non-disposable equipment

  • Make sure the artist uses new ink

  • Make sure the artist opens the wrapped needle in front of you

  • Make sure the artist wears sterile gloves

  • Make sure that the inks used are made of nonmetallic organic pigments, and are manufactured by larger companies, as this can decrease the likelihood of getting contaminated ink

  • Do not get your tattoo while under the influence of alcohol/drugs

  • Take care of your tattoo, as it is an open wound and can get infected in the first two weeks

  • Consult your healthcare provider if you develop redness, a rash or discharge

For more information please contact the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services at 252.475.5003.

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