How to Tell If a Tattoo Is Infected

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When you get a tattoo, there is always a risk of infection. It is important to pay attention so that you can take care of it before it turns into a bigger problem and creates complications for you. When you first get a tattoo, you may have some redness and inflammation, but you need to know when to be concerned.

A tattoo is a controlled injury, and you need to keep it clean after you have it done. If you do end up with an infection, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. An infection from a tattoo can range from mild discomfort to sepsis and death. Pay attention to these signs so that you can treat it right away.

Your Tattoo Is Red, Swollen, and Warm

If the area where you got the tattoo has a pinkish color that spreads under the skin, you may have an infection. This can be accompanied by swelling and warmth. You will be able to feel the heat coming from your skin, and it will likely be tender to the touch. When you get a tattoo, the area should be healing each day. If you notice that it is spreading and becoming worse, you might have an infection.

When you notice redness, swelling, and warmth that doesn’t go away after three days, it is very likely an infection. You should go to the doctor because you will need antibiotics for the infection. Pay close attention, and don’t wait if you notice this happening.

You Notice Pus Draining or a Fungus

Your tattoo should not have pus draining from it at all. If it does, this is a definite sign of infection. You should wash the area with a liquid antibacterial soap, and then go to your doctor for antibiotics. You can try an over-the-counter topical antibiotic, but if you end up with a fever, you should go to the emergency room right away.

Sometimes, people get a tattoo on their foot, and it is trapped inside of shoes and socks. If your feet sweat or you have spent time in a gym, you could pick up a fungal or bacterial infection. You might notice that your foot is red and hot or swollen, and you could have white scaly skin on top. You should soak the area in vinegar and water, and go to the doctor for a topical antibiotic.

You Notice a Swollen Lump

Sometimes a bad tattoo parlor will use dirty water to wash or dilute the ink, or you could come into contact with contaminated water somewhere else, such as a nail salon. This can lead to a non-tuberculosis mycobacterium infection, which shows up as a red swollen lump and red streaks up your leg or your arm. If you have these symptoms, you should go to your doctor for antibiotics.

Many people get tattoos every day without developing an infection. However, it is a good idea to take precautions. You should never go to a tattoo artist who doesn’t have a license. Make sure that they clean and sterilize their equipment properly as well. They should wear gloves when they do your tattoo, and they should give you instructions on how to care for your tattoo at home.

Keep your tattoo clean and bandaged for about six hours when you get home, and make sure that you wash it several times a day with an antibacterial soap. Stay out of the swimming pool for a week or so, and pay attention so that you will know if it becomes infected.

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