(NC)-If you plan to get a tattoo, or body piercing, you should know that there is a risk of getting hepatitis C from old, unsterile tattooing needles that have been used on more than one customer, or from unsterile practice by the tattoo artist (i.e. licking the tattooing needle, using the same ink or ink containers for more than one person, or testing needle sharpness by pricking his/her hand.)
Body piercing also poses a risk of hepatitis C transmission since it involves the use of needles and possible exposure to blood. If needles and other piercing equipment are not adequately sterilized between customers, they could be a source of hepatitis C infection.
Don’t let anyone use homemade or reused equipment (including needles, ink or jewelry) on you. Insist on fresh, single-use, disposable needles and fresh ink in new disposable containers, and make sure that all equipment is disinfected and sterilized with an autoclave. Be aware that cleaning with bleach or any other disinfectant doesn’t always kill the hepatitis C virus.
For more information visit Health Canada’s Web site at www.healthcanada.ca/hepc.
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