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You’ve probably already seen this headline, since the articles have been plastered on every news source around the country. If you haven’t read the full details, you may be thinking that there is some rampant strain of Staph sweeping the nation, infecting people getting tattoos all over the place. This is where media sensationalism comes in, making things seems bigger and worse than they actually. However, this is definitely a problem.

The reports are a result of a study by the CDC, which show that there were 44 cases of antibiotic-resistant Staph infection, in the years 2004 and 2005, which were the direct result of unclean, unsafe, and unlicensed tattoos. It has been traced back to 13 unlicensed tattooists. This is where the problem lies.

I will say it as many times as I need to until I have no breath left in me—you get what you pay for in this business. You cannot go to an unlicensed tattooer any more than you can go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist and expect a clean, safe experience! You cannot base your choice of tattooer solely on price! The guys that charge $75 for a small tattoo are charging you that because they have to in order to recuperate the expense they pay for licensing, safe products, proper sterilization and quality inspections of their equipment. If they’re not charging for that, they’re not doing it!

Karma: "For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful."

To save a few bucks, 44 people (at least) had to be hospitalized and probably spend hundreds of dollars, not to mention endure intense pain while some of them had to have abscesses and rotting flesh surgically removed from their bodies. Isn’t Karma fun?

Comments

June 28, 2006 at 9:46 pm
(1) Pillow says:

Holy… that’s gross… I could never understand what people are thinking…this is something you are putting permanently on your body and it carries big risks if the equipment isn’t properly sterilized and the ink is not disposed of… the least you can do is make sure you are going to a licenced tattoist…if not, you are risking your life.

June 29, 2006 at 8:40 pm
(2) noe says:

who would feel safe paying for a tattoo done in a gross place?? i payed $60 dollars for my quarter-sized (ok, a bit too small!) tattoo, and i knew that i was paying for my health safety as well.

February 25, 2007 at 9:33 pm
(3) Zach says:

yeah well just a few days ago i got a tattoo at a licensed place that has been in business for ten years and i just got back from the hospital with a staff infection due to what was done at that place. so its not just the unlicensed cheap places, its the places who become comfortable with what they are doing and will then cause a slip up and with the end result you have me. someone who has always been against tattoos but decided to get one with a buddy i went to iraq with who just left where i was based and go on about his life. but i do know this, i will never get a tattoo again.

May 3, 2007 at 12:13 am
(4) h says:

there is no way to be sure that your staph infection was caused by the person who did your tattoo and more than likely it wasn’t. staph is everywhere. you most likely either already had it on your skin or you came in contact with it after you received the tattoo and since you had an open wound were more susceptible to it. people need to do more research about this before they start pointing fingers because you 100% cannot say you got this from getting a tattoo.

May 25, 2007 at 7:13 pm
(5) SHERRY says:

I GOT A TATTO A WEEK AGO ON THE BACK OF MY NECK AND I STARTED HAVING RED BUMPS COME UP ALL AROUND MY TATTOO. WELL TODAY I NOTICED I HAD 2 BOILS UNDERMY ARMPIT AND ONE ON THE INNER THIGH. THE PLACE I WENT TO I HAD BEEN BEFORE AND NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS BUT IT WAS A DIFFERENT GUY WHO DID IT.HOW WOULD ONE KNOW IF IT WAS THEM OR MAYBE I COULD HAVE TOUCHED WITH THE GERM ON MY HANDS …WHO KNOWS BUT IM SCARED AFTER READING ABOUT IT AND I STARTED ANTIBIOTICS. IF NOT BETTER BY TOMMORROW I WILL HAVE TO HAVE IV ANTIBIOTICS…UGH THIS IS MY 4TH TATTOO AND NEVER HAD PROBLEMS AT ALL UNTIL NOW

March 26, 2011 at 12:07 am
(6) Corinne says:

When the artist covers the tattoo, they do this to keep unwanted bacteria out of the wound for at least the first 5-6 hours while the tattoo begins healing. You will find often people want to show everyone their new tattoo, and end up uncovering and recovering the wound many times. The bacteria can be from touching something out in public or even in your home ( such as a door knob for example) that many have touched and has not been cleaned in a while. The bacteria can also be airborne. I am almost positive it wasnt the artist. Did you watch them take the needles right out of the packages? Also for some reason certain strains of staph spread more easily than others. Keep your wound clean and dry…no more a&d or anything like that. For a week or so this is what you should do. ( along with antibiotics that is) Wash it 2 x a day with antibacterial soap..I use the equate foam antibacterial from wal mart. and pat it dry. Do not apply anything to it until after it is completely healed. It is going to itch…do not scratch..slap it. Once it dries up and the scabs fall off then use some unscented lotion. Aveeno is great for healing and making the color vibrant in a once infected tattoo. Good luck!

October 17, 2007 at 10:52 am
(7) elisha says:

in our town alot of the tattoo shops, people were contracting staph. come to find out, it was the shops that were using regular tap water. i got staph from a guy that has been tattooing for years. i just recently got another tattoo, and he uses only steamed distelled water. his being the only shop that used this water, no one got staph from his shop. the health department was going from shop to shop, until they figured out what the problem was. good luck, & make sure your artist doesn’t use TAP WATER!!!

February 6, 2008 at 12:07 pm
(8) Matt says:

My buddy just started to tattoo and he has done two on me alone and I am fine but a couple of other people he gave tattoos to got little bumps around it and it turned out to be a staff infection. I havn’t noticed any bumps on my body. We think it is linked to this cleaning agent he uses for his equipment called Benzol. If anyone has advise let me know.

April 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm
(9) kathleen says:

Hi. My daughter, 20, got a tattoo in Philadelphia, about 2 weeks ago. She got 3 big stupid stars on her side. Don’t ask…. Now she has several pimple looking things all around 1 of the stars. There is redness around them (half dollar size) and a white pimple head. I thought of a spider bite? She went to the DR today and they gave her a horse pill prescription for a type of ‘staph infection’. She has to follow up in 3 days (he said it was serious). I’m wondering if this staph infection is directly related to the tattoo? Can one get a staph infection from a dirty tattoo, and have the sores appear away from the tattoo itself? They’re about 1/2″ to 1″ away. I’m horrified…she’s playing it off. Good Opinions (not ‘ew gross’ gross emails please. :)

April 23, 2008 at 8:03 pm
(10) little rock says:

Usually staph infections located near tattoos while healing are the most common type of infection. It happens usually because of poor after care (i.e. – pet hair can land on the healing tattoo and easily cause a staph infection). People underestimate the importance of proper after care when getting a new tattoo. Something as simple as showing it off to friends who may accidentally touch it while its healing makes it susceptible to bacteria entering the ‘open wound,’ which that new tattoo is. Please don’t read that wrong and think your daughter did something wrong because somethings are sometimes unavoidable with even the best after care. However, it is also my understanding that with antibiotics, staph infections are easily cleared up and will not affect the tattoo from still properly healing.

All that said, chances are the staph infection came from the after care (i.e. – someone touching it without washed hands) and yes, it can create the sores close to the tattoo but not necessarily directly on it. Rest assured, your daughter shouldn’t have any more problems with it.

April 25, 2008 at 8:27 am
(11) Heather says:

Funny? no its not funny at all. Getting a tattoo at a licensed shop does not guarantee anything as I quickly found out now that I have a severe staph infection rapidly crawling up my leg. I did everything they told me to do for the aftercare but it did not do me any good. I am now on the horse pill antibiotics but I haven’t seen any improvement yet.
Unfortunately there is ALWAYS a chance of infection when subjecting your body to trauma like a tattoo, but it is in no way “funny”.

July 1, 2008 at 9:00 pm
(12) Jessi says:

I agree with everyone who does not blame the artist. You don’t have to already have it on your skin, you can pick it up from anywhere and anyone. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you wash it, you can still get infected if the bacteria is strong enough. I do not need to go into the whole ‘super-disease’ theory. The one good thing for me was I found out that I was allergic to sulfur. The bad thing is, both the antibiotic meds I was on were sulfur based. My reaction was worse then the staph. I discontinued the meds by my own decision. I started using tea tree oil, melaluca, after washing thoroughly and wrapping the area three times daily. Within hours it has improved where after three days of meds there had been no improvement. It also helped to calm the hives down from the sulfur reaction.

This was my sixth tattoo, and my first infection. Don’t let something so terrible turn you away from expressing yourself further. I’ll certainly be waiting a bit longer than normal for the next one, but I haven’t written it off yet. What is the saying? If a horse bucks you off, get back in the saddle. Or something to that effect.

August 15, 2008 at 11:15 pm
(13) Natasha says:

What a horrible thing to say. This has nothing to do with karma. These people didn’t murder someone, why would they deserve bad karma? Staph infections can happen to anyone, working in a shop or out of a home. Licensed or not.

November 5, 2008 at 11:57 pm
(14) Jordan S says:

SO! Staph eh? You think its ALL abou WHERE you get it done, and HOW much you pay?
I DONT THINK SO!!!!
Staphyloccocus is EVERYWHERE!
For all any doctor or ‘professional’ inspector knows, those people THEMSELVES could have carried that infection on THEIR skin BEFORE they even arrived to get their tattoo done.
I work for a doctor in Canada, I was given a Staph infection ALL over my face from a girl that I work with doing skin treatments on me. Is that meaning to tell me the doctor that I work for is unclean and unlicensed? NO! That means to tell me that SHE had it on HER!
At any given time 50% of North Americans (PS: North American includes Canada too) have the infectious disease on their skin at any given time! Meaning, if you touch something, and that thing has the bacteria, you have it on your skin, when you wash your hands, you are not part of that 50% anymore. Make sense? Staph is everywhere! However, once you wash your hands, its gone down the drain.
In a small part it could very well be the tattoo artists who havnt cleaned properly before the next client, but that doesnt mean he has a dirty shop all around. If that person touches something, that bacteria can live on that in inadiment surface for 3 days before being oxidized. So even if they touched the counter, (who disinfects a counter service after every client at the check out?) and 2 days later another person touches that part of the counter and gets a tattoo in 5 minutes, you bet your ass theres a risk. So keep in mind, its not necessarily the artists shop, YOU as well have to help him help you in keeping his shop clean.
Get them to wash your skin BEFORE he draws, OR before he starts tattoeing. If they are free hand sketching, ask them to wear gloves. YOU as well have to be proactive in your body and your skin and what someone ELSE is doing to you! They are taking your power away from YOU at this time, make sure YOU have taken the smart steps in protecting yourself!

PS: My infection is MOSTLY gone. With VERY little scarring (Amazingly little actually. DO NOT TOUCHH DO NOT DRAIN DO NOT ITCH!LEAVE IT ALONE! YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING BUT GIVE YOUR SKIN AND BODY WHAT IT NEEDS TO FIGHT IT ITSELF! REMEMBER THE SMALLEST PART OF YOUR BODY IS THE INDIVIDUAL CELL IT NEEDS HELP, you just carry them with you) The cure?!?!
NO Medical antibodies. Oregano oil ON my skin, Silver Colloidal Water ON my skin, and both taken orally. Forever and always with no side effects like ‘traditional’ medicine.
My friends got MRSA, and she used my methods, its the ONLY thing that healder her ear of the flesh eating disease)
Thanks for listening!

July 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm
(15) Arthur says:

well, a tattoo is like an open wound and should be treated as such , and i know people that get tattoos and dont take proper care of the tattoo afterwards and get staff (well the staff that is already in everyones body breaks out ) thats what usually happens 9 times out of ten , the people dont listen to the aftercare instructions , even the ones thats had many tatts applied to themselves , …even when the artists use all precautions necessary , theres still a good chance people can get staff infect , by not properly takeing care of them , i say you need to give classes on properly takeing care of open wounds… ty .

December 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm
(16) Lily says:

Please do not ever use colloidal silver. Your skin can turn blue or silver (not sure how much would cause this but why risk it) and it cannot be removed.

April 28, 2010 at 1:51 am
(17) Sarah says:

I have been getting tattoos for years and have learned a few things about staph. You can get it from anything and anywhere. It doesn’t have to be the Artists fault at all. I heard a story about a lady getting it for someone who an apprentice. It turns out she got staph because after changing her babies diaper she put lotion on her tattoo without washing her hands. Anything that comes into contact with your open raw tattoo can lead to an infection. I’m paranoid about it because I just got a tattoo from a guy who wasn’t my original artist. I just got it yesterday so it’s still red and irritated. I’ve washed it plenty of times with anti-bacterial soap and put lotion on with clean hands. I worry what i dry the tattoo with could have germs on it.
You just have to be careful!

October 13, 2010 at 9:45 am
(18) Kit says:

I got my 10th tattoo 2 weeks ago that resulted in a nasty staff infection, of course got it done on my ankle so my entire leg was very painful and swollen, it looks like I will be going back for IV medications because the Doctor stated if no improvement in a few days will need to do this. Well the swelling has gone down but still very painful and red. I do not blame the tattoo artist or the place I have gone there several times and they all have a license, the Doctor stated that staph is naturally occuring on everyone and wounds are what allows it to spread, a tattoo is a open wound. Although very nasty and painful it’s just the unfourtnate twist of fate.

November 12, 2010 at 6:49 pm
(19) Nicole says:

I had a staph infection 5 months ago, after several doctors appointments I was told the infection was gone. I most recently noticed that the ink where the infection was is nor peelin off?? It doesn’t hurt, no infection appears to be there. Not sure what to do?

December 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm
(20) Chris says:

The truth is this. Anyone in almost any environment can contract a staph infection. It’s also been proven that many people that get a staph infection after getting a tattoo infect themselves when they apply ointment to their new tattoo. Not washing your hands before applying the ointment or lotion increases your risk. 98% of shops do the right thing. However they have no control over how the client does the aftercare. You must wash your hands before applying ointment to any fresh tattoo. Not washing your hands increases the risk by about 70%.

December 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm
(21) dave says:

Ok for all you retarded people out there. I am covered with tattoos and went to a really clean shop and they followed all the rules and I still got staph. Staph doesnt come from unliecenced tattoo artists. So thank you for all the comments but research it before you talk about it.

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