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DO YOUR HOMEWORK

- Before Getting a Body Piercing or Tattoo, Ensure Operators Are Inspected and Follow the Rules -

Want to get a tattoo, body piercing, manicure or pedicure? Be sure that the person providing the service also checks out when it comes to safety and cleanliness.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit reminds area residents to do their homework because, in some cases, people who advertise piercing, tattooing and other services may not regularly inspected by Health Unit staff.

“As tattoos and body piercings become more popular, we want to remind local residents to treat these procedures with caution and care,” says Carol Chan, an HKPR District Health Unit Public Health Inspector, who is also certified in infection prevention and control. “While the piercings and tattoos may look good to you, these procedures can also affect your health.”

Procedures such as body piercing and tattooing involve breaking the skin, which is the body’s first line of defence against illness and infection. “Because the skin is broken, the care and treatment is very important to prevent infection,” Chan adds.

Anyone who offers tattoos, body piercings or other similar services must ensure that safe infection prevention and control techniques are followed. “This is critical for reducing the risk of bloodborne infections such as Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV,” Chan says.

The Health Unit is responsible for inspecting establishments that offer personal services such as tattooing, body piercing, hairdressing, barbering, waxing, electrolysis, manicures and pedicures. During these inspections, Public Health Inspectors will ensure that the person and business doing the work follow proper infection prevention and control measures.

Locally, there are many reputable operators offering piercings and tattoos that are only too happy to share their Health Unit inspection reports and answer questions about how the procedure is done. Chan says these operators are not the problem. “The real concern lies with people who are not inspected by the Health Unit, and who may be doing piercings, tattoos and other procedures on the side or out of their home,” she adds.

There may also be cases where people advertise their piercing and tattooing services on social media sites, even though they are not inspected by the Health Unit. “Look before you leap,” says Chan. “Check that the person doing the work is reputable and follows Health Unit recommendations.”

Anyone who wants to get a piercing, tattoo or similar service should ask the people doing the procedure for a copy of their latest Health Unit inspection report, she adds. If this report cannot be provided, it’s a good indicator that the person has not been inspected at all. In these situations, Chan encourages people to report the uninspected operator to the Health Unit and consider obtaining services from another place. Information about inspection reports and safety tips is also available from the Health Unit by calling 1-866-888-4577 or visiting www.hkpr.on.ca.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Carol Chan, Public Health Inspector, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 1235.

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