Tattoos and body piercings could be a Hep C risk
Because needles puncture your skin when you’re getting a tattoo or piercing this can cause bleeding. If even small amounts of infected blood remain on the tattoo needle or is in the ink, the virus could be transferred to you during the tattooing
process if needles and equipment are re-used or not sterilised properly.
Your risk is greater if the tattoo or piercing was done while in prison or at non-professional premises.
Hepatitis C is more common in some countries in Asia and Africa, but it occurs in nearly every part of the world. The risk to most travellers is low, but travellers could become infected if they get tattoos or piercings or receive acupuncture with needles that are not sterile. Many people with hepatitis C do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. Even though a person has no symptoms, the virus can still be detected in the blood.
A little research beforehand can help decrease the risks
How can i protect myself when i get a tattoo?
It’s recommended you go to a reputable tattoo artist who practices the following:
- Uses only new sterilised needles and separate ink pots
- Sterilises any equipment that may come into contact with blood
- Uses safety gloves
- Cleans and disinfects surfaces
- Safely disposes of any materials that come into contact with blood.
The only way to know if you have Hep C is to get tested.
How do i know if i have hepatitis C?
Hep C can be transmitted in many other ways and it’s common for people not to have any symptoms. If they do appear, they can include extreme tiredness and fatigue, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain.
Modern treatments are now available that are well tolerated, simple to take and can cure the virus in almost everyone living with Hep C.
You are considered cured when no hepatitis C virus is found in a blood test taken 3 months after treatment has finished.
As with all treatments there may be side effects. Your Doctor will advise what’s best for you.
After successful treatment many of these symptoms can disappear.
Use our risk factors and symptoms checklist to see if you should get tested for Hep C.