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Are fish pedicures safe?

Fish pedicures -- a controversial procedure involving dunking your feet into a tank of water containing dozens of tiny Garra Rufa fish that nibble on dead skin -- were deemed safe by UK officials on Tuesday amid complaints that the treatments have been linked to serious infections.



Fish pedicures, which have been popular in Asia for years and are steadily gaining popularity in Indian metros, have been a hot spa trend around the rest of the globe, although the treatment is banned in some US states, including Florida and Texas, for fears that infections could spread through open wounds.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK just issued new guidance after a panel found fish tank water contained a number of micro-organisms and that infections could be transmitted in myriad ways -- from fish to person, water to person, or person to person.

Still, the HPA advised that for healthy clients the risks are "very low" when spas adhere to strict cleanliness procedures. People with weak immune systems or underlying medical conditions are at greater risk, they warned, so if you fall in this category, avoid fish pedicures.

If you're curious about trying one, ensure there are no cuts or infections on your feet or legs before the treatment. Also, wait at least 24 hours after having a leg wax or shaving to minimize the chances of contracting an infection, stated the HPA.

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