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Dragonfly July 12th, 2020
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Think Before You Ink

Posted by on July 15th, 2019 Posted in: Health Literacy/Consumer Health
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tattoo being createdJuly 17 is National Tattoo Day which celebrates the rich history of tattoos as well as the artists. Tattoos which were once more commonly associated with sailors and rock stars but rarely found among physicians and teachers. Now days, it is rarer to find someone who doesn’t sport a tattoo or who hasn’t considered getting one. According to a 2015 Harris Poll, about 3 of 10 people have a tattoo and those that do usually have more than one.

Tattoos can be a form of self-expression, cultural reasons, a way to preserve a memory or experience, while others may do it on a dare. No matter the reason, some thought should go into the decision. Facts to consider include the reason why, long term factors, but also health considerations.

No matter how you feel about tattoos, they do involve health risks such as:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Keloids, a type of scar that forms during healing
  • Infections, such as hepatitis

The FDA provides 7 questions to consider to decide if tattoos are right forĀ  you:

  1. Should I be concerned about non-sterile needles or the ink itself?
  2. What does the FDA know about inks?
  3. What about do-it-yourself tattoo inks and kits?
  4. What kinds of reactions have been seen with tattoos?
  5. If I get a tattoo and develop an infection or other reaction, what should I do?
  6. What about later on? Could other problems occur?
  7. What’s the bottom line?

Check the FDA web page for answers to those questions but also know that MedlinePlus provides information from a number of authoritative resources to consider regarding the health and safety of tattooing before heading to the parlor.

In addition, learn more about the history of tattoos from the Smithsonian Institute.

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the NNLM Pacific Northwest Region. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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