Illicit tattoos risk infection

The South Kempsey Community centre played host an event last Friday as part of Hepatitis Awareness week, warning young people about the new ways they might come into contact with this disease.

Madeleine Holtmann, health promotion officer for the Mid North Coast Local health District said backyard tattoo artists now posed an infection risk.

“Now you can buy tattoo equipment via the internet and set up shop at home tattooing your friends,” she said.

“Sometimes they will even have a ‘tattoo party’.

“But these people are probably not aware of the precautions that you need to take to avoid transferring any sort of blood borne diseases, including hepatitis.

“Even if they always use a clean tattoo needle they probably won’t use a fresh ink source for each person so you are just dipping the clean needle to into a potentially infected ink pot.

“And it is very unlikely they will have the high grade sterilisation equipment you find at a regulated tattoo shop.”

Students from Melville High School listened intently to the messages about Hepatitis before enjoying a barbecue lunch under the supervision of Chris Heise, head teacher of the support unit and teacher’s aid Dundee.

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