Mount Sinai South Nassau presents:


Can tattoos and body piercings make you sick?

Q:Can tattoos and body piercings make you sick?


A:Yes. When having tattoos or piercings done, make sure you go to reputable places. Dodgy parlors could be very unhygienic and lead to serious health issues, including hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, tetanus or a bacterial infection.

Tattoos and body piercings breach the skin, which means that skin infections and other complications are possible, including:

  • Allergic reactions. Tattoo dyes — especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes — can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo site. Some piercing jewelry — particularly pieces made of nickel — can cause allergic reactions.
  • Skin infections. A skin infection — which might cause redness, pain, swelling or a pus-like discharge — is possible after a tattoo or piercing. These can be relatively mild to even serious limb-threatening, soft-tissue infections.
  • Blood-borne diseases. If the equipment used to create your tattoo or to do your piercing is contaminated with infected blood, you can contract various blood-borne diseases — including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

If you have questions about the health risks of getting a piercing or tattoo, talk to your doctor.

To learn more about Mount Sinai South Nassau’s medical services, click here.

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