As the practice of tattoos and similar body art becomes more and more fashionable, so does the risk of contracting skin diseases, including a serious one called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus which often results after having a tattoo applied under unsanitary conditions. Called M.R.S.A. for short, this bacteria induced skin disease is very serious because it has been found to be resistant to known antibiotics including Methicillin, Penicillin, Amoxicillin and Cephalosporins (for those who are allergic to penicillin based antibiotics).
Though not normally life threatening, M.R.S.A. is very difficult to treat once it infects the skin and begins to form painful and ugly abscesses on the skin, often following a tattoo. A serious cause can result in complications which can cause the bacteria to enter the blood stream and eventually cause severe damage to internal organs, as well as lung diseases such as Pnueumonia. The condition can be prevented though with sanitary precautions being made before and during a tattoo session, as well as afterwards, once a person is home. A tattoo piercing causes open wounds on the skin, which take several days to heal. Following a tattoo, care must be made to cleanse the tattoo and surrounding skin areas with a skin disinfectant like the ones surgeons used prior to performing an operation. If not available, a good quality soap and alcohol based disinfectant should be used until the wound caused by the tattoo is completely healed.
Other skin infections that are possible from a tattoo include Follicolitus, an infection in the hair follicles, and impetigo, a very contagious skin infection which causes boils and abscesses similar to those caused by M.R.S.A. infections.
Recently in the 1990’s, a different type of staphylococcus infection called CA-M.R.S.A. or Community Associated M.R.S.A. infection has begun to appear which is highly contagious as well as being resistant to most antibiotics. These infections are found to be more numerous due to the popularity of tattoos and due to more and more people developing weakened immune systems as a result of virus such as HIV/AIDS. Older people as well, whose immune systems are weaker, may also be at risk of catching an M.R.S.A. caused infection.
Many people are “carriers” of M.R.S.A. bacteria and other similar infections even they themselves my not have any actual sores or other symptoms. The carrier, when having a tattoo done can then transmit the bacteria to others, including the tattoo artist, if proper sanitary precautions are not made.
So besides being a “marriage for life” a permanent, needle induced body tattoo may also give persons something more than what they previously bargained for.