Tattoos are extremely popular and very personal but can be a little bit risky. Whether your getting your first tattoo or you have several already, each time you get a new one its a different experience. Most tattoos will heal with no problems while other times you can experience an infected tattoo as its like any open wound, a tattoo can become infected when you don’t administer the proper care. Infected tattoos can be a little scary, specially if its your first tattoo, as you won’t know for sure what to expect and when symptoms of a tattoo infection start, you won’t know if its a part of the normal healing process. First of all you need to know what the symptoms are of an infected tattoo so you can spot the infection before it progresses.
Tattoo infection symptoms
First of all, don’t worry if you have any of the following symptoms, they are easy to treat although you want to catch the infection as soon as possible. Here are some of the following tattoo infection symptoms to watch out for:
Extreme redness or irritation – After getting a tattoo, there is going to be some redness, irritation and your tattoo will feel hot when you touch it although this should decrease within a few days. If your tattoo starts looking bubbly and bright red then this could be a sign of an infection and you should go see your doctor immediately.
Fever – This is one of the surest sign of a tattoo infection, even if your temperature is just slightly elevated, then you should check with your doctor immediately.
Pain – You will experience some pain during and after having a tattoo but the pain should decrease after a few hours, although if the pain gets worse or you start getting shooting pains then you should again go check with your doctor.
Swelling – Again a little swelling is normal to get, just after having your tattoo, but if it gets worse or doesn’t decrease after a day of having it then seek medical attention straight away.
An unusual odor – If you notice a very unusual smell coming from your tattoo then this could be a sign of an infection.
Discharge – If you have any pus coming from your tattoo then this is a sign of an infection and you need to seek medical attention straight away.
Red streaks or sores – If red streaks or sores develop on or around your tattoo then this could indicate a simple infection or something more serious like blood poisoning or a staph infection therefore if you get this then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Infected tattoos if not treated can potentially kill you therefore if you notice any of these symptoms or are worried about your tattoo then you should speak with your doctor and get it checked out straight away to be on the safe side. To prevent any infection you need to make sure that you are taking the proper precautions to prevent it from starting by keeping the area clean and protected until it is properly healed, also using antibiotic ointment can help keep any bacteria out, but don’t wear it 24/7 because you need to give your tattoo oxygen as well. Tattoos may take days or weeks to heal depending on its size, the care you take and any personal hereditary or health issues you may have.
How to treat an infected tattoo
If you have any signs of infection it is recommended that you go to consult your tattoo artist before going to the doctors as most tattoo artist have been trained to look for infection and have seen hundreds of infected tattoos therefore they will be able to easily confirm or reject the notion that your tattoo is infected.
Once your tattoo artist has confirmed that your tattoo is infected you will need to make an appointment straight away with your doctor and they will be able to diagnose the infection and give you the proper tools for the treatment. One of the treatments they may prescribe is antibiotics, as this is the most common way to treat skin infections. Your doctor may also order blood tests which depends on the circumstances under which you received the tattoo and how bad the infection is.
Use topical ointments such as Bacitracin, A+D Ointment or Neosporin which are linked to this site if you have been confirmed by the doctor and your tattoo artist that you have an infected tattoo. Do not use topical ointments to prevent an infection as this will only clog up your skin and cause an infection.
Finally to treat an infected tattoo, you need to try to keep it dry at all times as water will be your biggest enemy while your tattoo is trying to heal. Do not swim with an infection and try you best to avoid getting the infected area wet when taking a shower or bath. Also never expose an infected tattoo to sunlight and to prevent future skin infections, wear sunscreen all over your tattoo.