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Dr. Green Discusses The Risk of Swimming After Getting a Tattoo

Amanda Gardner from talks to Dr. Michele Green about the infection risk associated with getting a tattoo. It made recent news due to a 31 year old man who recently had a tattoo on his calf, went for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico and contracted Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that can lurks in seawater and in raw oysters.

That led to septic shock (an infection in the blood), and cellulitis, a particularly aggressive bacterial infection of the skin. Despite efforts by doctors in a nearby hospital to treat him with high-powered antibiotics, he died days later.

“Generally tattoos are not dangerous at all,” explains Michele S. Green, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. But, of course, it’s a fresh wound. It’s a breach of the skin.”

In fact, tattoos can be many fresh wounds, due to the area of small puncture marks, all of which can be routes into your system for germs. “Besides bacteria like V. vulnificus, a person with a new tattoo can also pick up a staph infection,” says Dr. Green. And “If you’re considering getting new ink, cut your infection risk by keeping the bandage on for 24 hours and coating the tattoo with a topical antibiotic ointment.”

Find out more and read the full interview at:

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