Be careful with tattoos that can be beautiful but also dangerous
Many ancient peoples and so-called “primitive tribes” painted their skin to protect themselves from evil spirits. Sailors traveling across distant seas and oceans brought this custom to Europe. Sailors were the first to learn various tattoo techniques. Sailors used to mark some part of their body with a drawing of an anchor whenever they crossed the Atlantic. Self-taught painters among the sailors carved other drawings and motifs into the skin. This carving of drawings into the skin of the body aroused the interest of the people on land whenever sailors returned from distant voyages. This way of decorating quickly spread to all other social classes.
Even today, a tattoo is a fashion detail of imaginative shapes, colors and a feature of an individual’s personal style. It is less painful than before because an electric needle is used for drawing. This very needle can permanently mark someone’s fate if it is not sterilized. An unsterilized needle is very dangerous because it easily transmits the hepatitis B and C virus (the cause of liver inflammation).
Every year, about 2 million people in the world die from infection caused by this virus – according to data from the World Health Organization. It most often enters the body through the blood and body fluids of infected persons. 6 viruses have been discovered that can cause an inflammatory condition of the liver. They are marked in alphabetical order (letters of the alphabet). The course of the disease and the outcome depend mostly on the person’s immunity, the nature of the virus and timely treatment – as with other viral infections – warn infectious disease specialists and hepatologists.
The virus remains in the body of not a small number of infected people, although many recover spontaneously or with treatment. The inflammatory state of the liver may not be manifested by any sign of the disease. However, once the virus enters the liver cells, it can remain dormant for years, even decades. The virus works quietly and causes slight deterioration of the liver or malignant cancer. These severe consequences are most often caused by the hepatitis B and C viruses. People who have the hepatitis B virus usually do not have any signs of jaundice. That is why this virus is also transmitted to healthy people. There must be an open wound or crack on the skin or mucous membrane for the virus to enter the bloodstream. There are always such scratches. That is why the infection can be transmitted by using another person’s toothbrush, scissors, razor and tweezers. Hepatitis viruses can enter the body through the blood through intravenous narcotics (that is, using an infected needle), hemodialysis machines, dental interventions, non-sterilized manicure and pedicure equipment, or acupuncture needles. They can also be transmitted by tattooing, piercing, depilation, peeling and other interventions on the skin. Unfortunately, viruses cannot be destroyed by washing and cooking instruments. Viruses are destroyed only by dry sterilization in special devices.
Signs for recognizing diseases
Not all people react equally to infection with the hepatitis B virus. Some feel well while others have mild symptoms of the disease. Characteristic symptoms are malaise, vomiting, poor appetite, discomfort under the right rib cage, yellow skin, dark urine and pale digestion. Many people recover, but for some, the disease develops into a chronic form, and after a few years signs of infection and complications appear (cirrhosis of the liver, swollen stomach and legs, bleeding from the liver and esophagus). Timely treatment stops or slows down the deterioration of liver cells and the appearance of cancer. Depending on the severity of the disease, medications are used that protect the liver and inetrferon (which prevents the development and reproduction of viruses and thus helps the body stop inflammatory conditions and recover liver cells).
Hepatitis C virus infection is hidden for up to 15 years in 80% of those infected. The patient feels well or is occasionally tired. Most patients’ skin is not yellow. Apart from elevated values of serum aminotransferases, other laboratory analyzes do not indicate the presence of infection.
The diagnosis of infection with the hepatitis C virus is established by laboratory analysis, testing of antibodies to HCV and the PCR method. A fifth of those infected with chronic hepatitis C develop liver cirrhosis or cancer over the years.
This virus is transmitted in the same way as the hepatitis B virus, by non-sterile needles, from mother to child during childbirth, sexual contact, hemodialysis, transplantation. It is most common in intravenous drug addicts. Patients with this virus are given antiviral drugs and interferon. The therapy prolongs the patient’s life and prevents the occurrence of cancer.
A preventive vaccine against the hepatitis C virus has not yet been developed
The best protection against the hepatitis B virus is a vaccine that provides immunity for the next 7 to 10 years. All other family members should be vaccinated if only one member is infected. All pregnant women in the last trimester should be tested for hepatitis B virus. If indicators of infection are found in the blood, then the child should be protected with immunoglobulin and vaccine after birth.
Children are vaccinated according to needs from 2 to 15 years of age months of life and is especially recommended from 11 to 15 years of age. People going to the Middle and Far East for a long time should also get the vaccine. Diabetics on insulin as well as people on hemodialysis. Vaccination against hepatitis B simultaneously achieves protection against the hepatitis D virus.
Protection measures include the exclusive use of personal hygiene equipment, sterilization of instruments, use of disposable needles and control of risk groups (drug addicts, homosexuals and prostitutes). It is recommended to use condoms with casual partners to reduce the risk of these and other viral infections. Hepatitis viruses are insidious and can lie dormant and cause serious liver damage during this time. Everyone who has been in risky situations should therefore have blood tests for HbsAg and antibodies to NSV.
People should visit only verified tattoo and piercing parlors where the owners guarantee the use of sterile single-use needles. You should go for a pedicure only in places where all instruments are sterilized by dry sterilization.
People who are diagnosed with these infections should immediately start treatment, regularly visit a hepatologist for liver control and use condoms during sexual contact so that the partner does not become infected with the virus and thus transmit the infection.