Wednesday, 13 August 2014

FDA Warns Tattoo Artists, Customers That Some Ink Can Cause Infections

By MARY CLARE JALONICK


Thinking about getting inked? Check the bottle first.
The Food and Drug Administration is warning tattoo parlors, their customers and those buying at-home tattoo kits that not all tattoo ink is safe.
Last month, California company White and Blue Lion Inc. recalled inks in in-home tattoo kits after testing confirmed bacterial contamination in unopened bottles.
At least one skin infection has been linked to the company's products, and FDA officials say they are aware of other reports of infections linked to tattoo inks with similar packaging.
Infections from tattooing are nothing new. Hepatitis, staph infections and even the superbug known as MRSA have been tied to tattoos. Dirty needles and unsanitary environments are often to blame.
But people getting tattoos can get infections in the skin even in the cleanest conditions. The ink can carry bacteria that can spread through the bloodstream — a process known as sepsis. Symptoms are fever, shaking chills and sweats, and the risk is particularly high for anyone with pre-existing heart or circulatory conditions. Less severe infections may involve bumps on the skin, discharge, redness, swelling, blisters or excessive pain at the site.
And you may not be out of the woods for a while: The FDA says it has received reports of bad reactions to tattoo inks years later as well as right after tattooing.
The FDA says it is concerned that consumers and tattoo artists may have some of the contaminated products from the July recall. White and Blue Lion may have just been one distributor.
Some of the recalled bottles are labeled with a multicolored Chinese dragon image and black-and-white lettering, while some are missing manufacturer information. In general, the FDA says those looking to get tattoos should always ensure that the ink has a brand name and a location of the business that manufactured it.
"What the consumer can do is talk to the tattoo artist and see the ink bottles," said Linda Katz, director of the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors.
Katz also encouraged people with symptoms to report their reaction to the FDA.
This isn't the first outbreak linked to tattoo ink. Reports of infections have increased as tattoos have become more popular in the last decade.
Three years ago, 19 people in Rochester, New York, ended up with bubbly rashes on their new tattoos that were linked to contaminated water used to dilute the ink.
Permanent tattoos aren't the only tattoos that carry risk. An FDA alert earlier this year warned that temporary tattoos popular with kids and often found at beaches, boardwalks and other holiday destinations can also be dangerous. The main risk is from black henna, an ink that is combined with natural red henna and can include chemicals that can cause dangerous skin reactions.
In that notice to the public, the FDA said regulation differs from state to state and can be lax in some places.
"Depending on where you are, it's possible no one is checking to make sure the artist is following safe practices or even knows what may be harmful to consumers," the alert reads.


Could This Tick Turn You Into a Vegetarian?



Is there a bug that’s turning red meat eaters into vegetarians?
Yep. A bite from a Lone Star tick is making some people “allergic” to red meat, resulting in hives, swelling and breathing problems. Some sufferers go into full anaphylactic shock four to six hours after eating meat.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Trouble breathing
• Drop in blood pressure
• Closing of the throat
The allergic reaction is to the alpha-gal sugar present in red meat. Doctors are theorizing that the Lone Star tick maintains the sugar in its gut and saliva and introduces it to victims during a bite. This causes the production of the allergy antibody, which then reacts to the alpha-gal in red meat.
Lone Star tick allergies are affecting patients in Southeastern states and spreading up the Eastern Seaboard with the deer population. The allergy is putting victims off beef and pork, though they can safely eat poultry. Some patients even react to milk.
Once a patient becomes allergic to meat, there’s no good way to desensitize them, says Dr. Robert Valet, of Vanderbilt’s Asthma, Sinus and Allergy Program.
“It certainly is a big disruption for a lot of people’s lives,” Valet told Science Daily. “Things like your classic barbeque really become off limits.”
Doctors are telling victims to avoid ticks and, if they are bitten and develop the allergy, carry an EpiPen if they have exposure to red meat.