Body Piercing and the Risk for Infection
Body piercing has been a popular method of self-expression since ancient times. Roman centurions wore nipple rings to show their virility and courage, Amazonian warriors put heavy metal rings through their noses to intimidate their enemies, and ancient Egyptian royals had naval piercing to prove their high status in society. Today, although still associated with tribal people such as the Masai warriors of East Africa, body piercing has become a popular fashion in western society, made widespread in Britain by punk culture in the mid 1970's. Piercing the ears, nose, navel, tongue, and other parts of the body has now become commonplace, particularly among teenagers and young adults. It may be considered cool, but there are things you need to know before you get that piercing done. Piercing are susceptible to infection during the healing period. It is extremely important to take care of your new piercing in order to promote healing and prevent infection. Body piercing is an invasive procedure (like a surgical operation) and carries with it the same risks and healing periods. Infection is the main risk associated with body piercing. Infection can occur in two ways: Transmittable diseases: if hygiene standards are not adequate, you are at risk of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis (B and C), and HIV, which can be transmitted from dirty needles. Hepatitis is particularly known for its resilience and some strains can live for up to eight hours on dirty instruments in normal room temperatures. Bacterial infection: this can result in cysts (pockets of tissue filled with fluid, air or pus), which can develop into septicemia or toxic shock syndrome if left untreated. This can be very serious and even fatal. Body piercing also presents a risk of scarring and keloid formation (a type of oversized scar). Specific piercing each presents its own risks. For example oral (tongue) piercings can result in chipped teeth where the...
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