How to diagnose tattoo infection at an early stage

Published: May 21, 2019, 14:18 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Signs of infection usually are quick to appear. One should check for the following symptoms and consult a doctor if the signs are present

Tattoos have been around since quite a while now. Although the idea was initially looked down upon, the idea is becoming increasingly popular and less controversial with each passing day. Due to the fact that it’s so common, most people tend to assume that there's no dark side to it, and aren’t acquainted with the risks that come with it. Sunny Bhanushali, the founder and Celebrity tattoo artist at Aliens Tattoo Studio says, "Inserting needles in your body means you can potentially let foreign matter and infections into your body, which is why it is important to make sure that your tattoo artist is one that uses clean equipment and provides you with proper instructions about the aftercare. If these things are neglected, you're highly likely to catch an infection."

Signs of infection usually are quick to appear. One should check for the following symptoms and consult a doctor if the signs are present:

  • Uncomfortable Itching: During the healing of your tattoo, itching is completely normal. However, if the itching seems like it’s getting unbearable, and seems abnormal, it’s best to consult your doctor.
  • Pus discharge: When you see yellow, brown or green tinted slime or pus discharging from your flesh wound, you'll need to stop and see a doctor immediately. While you might think it’s the colour of the ink pigment leaking out, it’s not. Even in tiny amounts, you should take any discoloured oozing seriously.
  • Foul odour.
  • Tenderness and pain: The tattoo site will be a little sore, and there will definitely be some associated pain, but it shouldn’t be a deep pain that’s beyond comfort level.
  • Redness: Some minor redness for a short period of time is quite normal. However, it slowly starts turning into red streaks and the rash will seem to spread farther ahead around. It will appear red and inflamed. 
  • Swelling, blistering and boils: If you have caught an infection you will slowly start noticing small bulges.
  • Warmth: Your tattoo will start feeling a bit warm. Fever starts to develop.

To prevent these things from happening it is necessary that you choose the right tattoo artist, make sure the equipment’s used are clean. Needless to say, read reviews and ask around about the artist. Ensure that the needles used are completely new. Ensure that the artist uses ink that is approved by the FDA. Gloves should be worn during the entire process. Once the tattoo is done, clean the area with soap using gloves. Anti-biotic ointments or reams should be regularly applied onto the tattoo. Basically, all aftercare suggestions made by the tattoo artist should be adhered to.

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