Tag Archives: health

Tips & Health Risk of Getting a Tattoo

Tips & Health Risk of Getting a Tattoo:

bigstockphoto_tattoo_gun_2545857.s600x600In Western culture tattoos are often seen as something associated with people on the edge of society. Since the early 90s, however, tattooing has become more common and socially acceptable in Australia.

Although more people these days seem to have tattoos, getting one still carries some risks.

Note: In South Australia it is an offence for young people under the age of 18 years to be tattooed, except if it is done for a medical reason by a doctor or someone supervised by a doctor.


Tattooing has been around for nearly as long as humans have been around. An early example was found on a frozen body 9000 years old! Tattooing has become a part of the culture of almost all societies.

Early Christians used tattoos as symbols of recognition, until they were banned by Papal edict.

The word ‘tattoo’ was first brought to the English language after Captain Cook’s voyages to Tahiti. Western sailors then began to adopt tattooing.

In the early 19th century, tattooing became very popular with criminals and the working class in Britain and the US; hence the association of tattoos with people on the fringes of society. Tattooing retained this negative image until its recent revival as a mainstream symbol of individuality as well as defiance.

Reasons people get tattoos

There are many reasons why people choose to have a tattoo on their body, including:

  • Cultural reasons – i.e. coming of age or rites of passage
  • To express individuality
  • To indicate membership of a particular group or way of life
  • To make a statement
  • To establish a permanent reminder of an event – such as the death of a loved one
  • To reclaim the body after an event – for example, a sexual assault
  • To make the body more pleasing to their eye
  • To annoy parents?

It seems that getting a tattoo can make someone look like an individual or a conformist, depending on your view. People have been known to get tattoos as an impulsive act, perhaps when they were intoxicated – and they may or may not regret it later when they are sober.

Health risks

Getting a tattoo at an accredited professional tattoo parlor is relatively risk-free, but getting a tattoo still puts you at risk of the following:

  • serious infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B or HIV (which are passed on via infected blood or other body fluids), or tetanus
  • skin infections such as impetigo (‘school sores’)
  • dermatitis
  • flare ups of existing eczema
  • allergic reactions
  • thick scars called keloids (you are more likely to get these if you have dark skin)
  • distress due to regret after the procedure – this has been identified as one of the main problems after getting a tattoo.

Things to consider

Tattooing is a painful process, and tattoos are expensive to remove. If you want to have a tattoo removed there will always be a scar.

You need to carefully consider the reasons behind your need to get a tattoo before going through with it. Trends come and go, but a badly chosen tattoo lasts forever, or costs a lot to remove. Just ask Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie.

If you do decide to get a tattoo, you need to go to a qualified professional. Home-made tattoos, such as those made with Indian ink, should never be considered.

When choosing a tattoo artist you should make sure of the following:

  • that the tattoo parlor uses new sterile equipment for each client, or thoroughly cleans and sterilizes equipment (eg. by using an autoclave)
  • Those standard precautions are followed to reduce risks of infections, as used in many places, including hospitals. Can they show you how they keep clients safe?
  • that the tattoo artist has credentials, a license and references
  • That the tattoo parlor looks clean, safe and professional. You should use your judgment and keep away from a parlor that seems dodgy.

If the tattoo artist is a professional, then he or she will be happy to show you the ways in which their workplace adheres to standard safe practices. If they are uncooperative or give you a hard time because of your requests, simply leave – they do not deserve your trust or your business.

If you get a tattoo

A new tattoo requires some careful attention. A tattoo is an open wound until it heals. Here are some general rules, but make sure you follow the advice of the tattoo artist about how to best care for the area.

  • The artist will usually apply an ointment like those used for nappy rash or another product especially made for tattoos, and then covers it.
  • After an hour or two the tattoo should be washed with warm soapy water, and then patted dry with a clean towel. Do not rub over the tattoo. The ointment is lightly applied and the tattoo covered again. This process will need to be repeated daily for about a week.
  • During this time you should not soak your tattoo. This means no pool, seawater or baths, so if you are planning to go swimming maybe you should schedule the tattoo for another time.
  • Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight for this period either. After it is healed you need to put sunscreen on it each time you expose it. The sun will drain the color over time, and the tattooed area could be more susceptible to harmful rays.
  • The tattoo will leak some fluids, become itchy and peel. This is normal, but make sure that you don’t scratch the tattoo or pick at the scabs; this could cause damage to the tattoo.
  • If the skin around the tattooed area becomes very red, swollen or tender, this can mean that the area is infected. Go to a doctor, as you might need antibiotic treatment.


South Australia

  • The Second Story Youth Health Service (TSS)
    – Central: 57 Hyde St, Adelaide
    – South: 50a Beach Rd, Christies Beach
    – North: 6 Gillingham Rd, Elizabeth

Health and Habits of College Students

Report on Health and Habits of College Students Released
Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the director and chief health officer of the University’s Boynton Health Service

ParentsOfCollegeBoundKidsA report released by the University of Minnesota Boynton Health Service is the first of its kind in the nation to conduct a comprehensive survey on the health of college students. About 10,000 college students completed the survey. Although the study is focused on students from 14 campuses in Minnesota, the health findings here reflect national health trends for college students, says Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the director and chief health officer of the university’s Boynton Health Service.

The report examines everything from mental health and obesity to financial health and sexual health. It also looks at alcohol use, smoking, personal safety, physical activity and how many students do not have health insurance. One key finding is beginning to show how today’s technology is impacting students’ health and their academics. In fact, 28.7 percent of students surveyed report excessive computer/Internet/TV use and 41.8 percent indicate the activity affected their academic performance.

Ehlinger said members of the public, higher education leaders and policymakers should pay attention to the findings and make the health of college students a priority.

“The health of college students is important not only to the institutions they attend but also to the health of the state of Minnesota. Good health helps students remain in school, and a college degree or certificate is an excellent predictor of better health and economic status throughout one’s lifetime,” Ehlinger said.

Education is one of the strongest influences on economic and health status, Ehlinger said. “College students are a large and growing population and are establishing lifestyles and behavior patterns, they are the trendsetters and the role models for younger people and they are the future leaders of our society. That is why we need to make them a priority,” Ehlinger said.

“There is a shortage of information about these students particularly in areas that go beyond alcohol, tobacco and other drug use,” Ehlinger said. A survey like this one is beginning the shift to a more comprehensive examination of college student health. Along with Boynton, the study was funded Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota.

About 24,000 students from 14 Minnesota colleges and universities were randomly selected to participate in this study and 9,931 completed and returned the College Student Health Survey Report which tracks a wide range of student health issues from mental health and financial health to tobacco, nutrition/obesity and alcohol use.

Survey results will help schools determine what programs they need in place in order to improve the health of students. All five University of Minnesota campuses were included in the survey along with the following schools: Alexandria Technical College; Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Lake Superior College; Minnesota State Community and Technical College; North Hennepin Community College; Northwest Technical College; Bemidji State University; Concordia College; Minnesota State University Moorhead. Ehlinger will outline the report’s overall findings.

“The reason we’re studying students from 14 schools is because these health issues are community and state issues. We really need to address college student health issues on a statewide basis and not just on an individual school basis,” Ehlinger said. The survey was designed to look at students in a more holistic way, he said.

“College students face multiple risks to their health and their behavior affects all parts of their existence. We need to look at a student as a complex and complete person,” Ehlinger said.

In addition to the comprehensive 14 school report each participating institution will receive its own school-specific report. Some details on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities report are available at this point — 2,920 U of M, Twin Cities students completed the survey out of 6,000 who were randomly selected to participate.

Report findings:

Mental health

Results show that 27.1 percent of students surveyed have been diagnosed with a mental health illness within their lifetime and 15.7 percent were diagnosed with a mental health illness in the last 12 months. At the U of M, Twin Cities, 25.1 percent report being diagnosed with at least one mental health condition in their lifetime. Throughout the schools surveyed and on the U of M, Twin Cities campus, depression and anxiety are the two most frequently reported mental health diagnoses of students for both their lifetime and the last 12 months. Of all the surveyed students, 18.5 percent reported being diagnosed during their lifetime with depression and 13.3 percent were diagnosed with anxiety.

Physical activity, nutrition, obesity

Nearly two-fifths or 38.5 percent of all students surveyed fall within the overweight or obese/extremely obese categories. At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 29.1 percent of those surveyed fall within the overweight or obese/extremely obese categories. A new issue is surfacing when it comes to student physical health, 28.7 percent of students surveyed report excessive computer/Internet use and 41.8 percent indicate the activity affected their academic performance. On the U of M, Twin Cities campus, 32.2 percent of students surveyed reported excessive computer/Internet use and among this group, 41.9 percent indicate this activity impacted their academic performance.

Health insurance, uninsured

One key finding of the report is that 9.4 percent of all undergraduate students surveyed don’t have health insurance. For students in the University of Minnesota system, that rate is only 5.6 without health insurance compared with the 13.7 percent uninsured in non-U of M schools. At the U of M, Twin Cities, the uninsured rate for undergraduate students is 6.5 percent. Students in the 18- to-24-year-old range tend to have insurance, but students who are 25 to 29-years-old are less likely to have insurance.

“We have a fairly low uninsured rate here in the University of Minnesota system where students are required to carry insurance. The higher uninsured rate throughout the rest of the schools makes the argument that a requirement for insurance coverage is a good thing for schools and for students,” Ehlinger said.

The students who have insurance are more likely to go in for preventive health services and have fewer sick days.

“College students use health services on campus and in communities and when it comes to mental health services, students seek out assistance on campus.”That tells us that colleges really do need to invest in on campus support services.”

Financial health

Of students surveyed, 33.4 percent of them report carrying some level of credit card debt over the past month and 57.8 percent report the debt as $1,000 or more. On the U of M, Twin Cities campus, 29 percent of students report carrying some level of credit card debt and 59.9 percent report the debt as $1,000 per month or more.

“Students with greater than $1,000 of credit card debt tend to have higher rates of depression and have lower grade point averages,” Ehlinger said.


Alcohol use continues to be a concern for universities and colleges. Among students surveyed, 70.5 percent report using alcohol in the last 30 days and 37.1 percent report engaging in high-risk drinking within the past two weeks. At the U of M, Twin Cities, 74.3 percent report using alcohol in the last 30 days and 36.5 percent report engaging in high-risk drinking. Illicit drug use among those surveyed is low with 6.8 percent reporting they had used illicit drugs. On the Twin Cities campus, 7.1 percent report using illicit drugs.

Sexual violence

More than one in five or 22.4 percent of female students report experiencing a sexual assault in their lifetime with 6.8 percent reporting having been assaulted in the last 12 months. For male students, only 4.9 percent report being sexually assaulted in their lifetime with 1.9 percent reporting an assault within the past 12 months. Such assaults have lingering impact on students and their academic performance, Ehlinger said. Students who have been victims of sexual assault report higher rates of depression.

Sexual health

Of students surveyed, 77.6 percent report having been sexually active in their lifetime and 72.1 percent having been sexually active within the past 12 months. On the U of M, Twin Cities campus, 77.1 percent report having been sexually active in their lifetime and 71.7 percent report having been sexually active within the past 12 months. Nearly four out of five or 78.5 percent of students report having had zero or one sexual partner within the last 12 months. On the U of M, Twin Cities campus, 77.8 students reported having zero or one partner within the last 12 months. “Students are pretty monogamous according to the results, which contradicts the commonly held stereotype of students being promiscuous,” Ehlinger said.

Tobacco use

The current tobacco use rate in the last 30 days for all students at the 14 schools is 25 percent. On the U of M, Twin Cities campus, the current tobacco use rate is 20.9 percent for students ages 18 to 24 and their daily use rate at 3.7 percent, which are the lowest reported use rates among U of M, Twin Cities students since the tobacco data was first collected in 1992. Tobacco use is defined as both smoke and smokeless tobacco.


Stair Design Could Help Fight Obesity

Untitled-1Changes In Stair Design Could Help Fight Obesity
The fight against obesity, according to an article in the June Southern Medical Journal, official journal of the Southern Medical Association. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry.

“Changing stair design to encourage their use requires a set of interventions on both architectural and legislative levels to create physical environments that support active living,” write the authors, led by Dr. Ishak A. Mansi of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport. His wife, architect Nardine M. Mansi, is one of the co-authors.

Current Design Discourages Staircase Use

Encouraging people to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator is a promising approach to increasing moderate physical activity, the Mansis and their co-authors believe. “It involves a lifestyle choice that must be made (people must get to their destination) and it requires no personal financial cost.”

But would climbing the stairs a few times a day really have that much of an impact on overweight and obesity? The authors point out that ordinary day-to-day physical activities contribute the most to total energy expenditure the key factor in maintaining a healthy body weight. Some simple changes in the design and location of staircases could help to make buildings more “physical activity friendly” and contribute to Research suggests that light to moderate physical activity is most effective in motivating people who are currently inactive and obese.

But current approaches to stair design pose a problem. “Stairs are frequently hidden from entrances, with only small signs denoting their locations, typically in connection to the fire exit,” according to the article. Fire exits are usually guarded by heavy doors, not carpeted, and not air-conditioned. Architects find it challenging enough to comply with current building codes emphasizing fire safety and accessibility. “As a result, a conscious focus on health does not enter the design process.”

Suggestions for Improving Stair Design

Some simple interventions can do much toward encouraging people to take the stairs, research suggests. For example, a study performed at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention building found that playing music in stairwells and displaying motivational signs significantly increased the use of stairs.

These and other measures to make stairs attractive, safe, and readily accessible could help to make buildings more “physical activity-friendly,” the authors write. They suggest several ways to make stairs more comfortable and inviting for example, making staircases wider with less height per step and adding music, lighting, and air-conditioning.

Such efforts would readily fit in with recommended policy and environmental changes to increase physical activity. “State and local agencies are being encouraged by federal and nongovernmental organizations to use policy interventions to address the public health problem of physical activity,” according to the Mansis and their co-authors. They call for physicians, architects, and other professionals to work together to promote change in such policies. They conclude, “Perhaps now is the time to address the need for standard national building codes that incorporate health concerns and support active living.”

About the Southern Medical Journal

The Southern Medical Journal is published monthly by the Southern Medical Association and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Devoted solely to continuing education, the Journal publishes annually more than 200 original clinical articles directed to the practicing physician and surgeon on topics such as hypertension, osteoporosis, alcoholism, obesity, dementia, asthma, and diabetes and includes monthly CME features.

About the Southern Medical Association

The Southern Medical Association (SMA) has been serving physicians’ needs since its inception in 1906. SMA’s mission is to promote the health of patients through advocacy, leadership, education, and service. Mark your calendars to attend the Annual Scientific Assembly of Southern Medical Association, December 3-5, 2009 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

About Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher for healthcare professionals and students with nearly 300 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines publishing under the LWW brand, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services. LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry.

Wolters Kluwer Health is a division of Wolters Kluwer, a leading global information services and publishing company. The company provides products and services for professionals in the health, tax, accounting, corporate, financial services, legal, and regulatory sectors. Wolters Kluwer had 2008 annual revenues of €3.4 billion ($4.9 billion), employs approximately 20,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 35 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices

Source: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins