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Freshly made tattoos require constant care and a lot of caution. This is mainly because in order to make a tattoo, the skin is being injured and a wound is being made at the place of the tattoo.
This is why many will tell you not to go in water with the tattoo for at least 2 weeks. If the advice is not heeded, the result can be seriously devastating to the health, and it may even lead to sepsis and death.
One such case is that of a 31-year-old Hispanic man, who chose to ignore the advice and went for a swim into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, after only five days of receiving his new tattoo.
The fresh wound was open to all kinds of bacteria, and he received a harsh dose of the reality that may happen to many, should they ignore the advice of not going in pools, lakes, or oceans.
The unidentified 31-year-old got infected with a flesh-eating bacterium that tore out chunks of his skin and eventually led to his death by triggering a septic shock.
This man had already damaged his liver by suffering from cirrhosis from drinking 6 bottles of beer every day. This liver damage led to the organism not being able to fight the bacteria which had entered the body through the tattoo wound.
Experts wrote in the BMJ Case Reports that the patient had developed a fever, chills and a red rash close to his tattoo, and that his condition worsened over the following two days, before he was admitted to hospital.
Due to his health history of cirrhosis, the doctors immediately suspected an infection with Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium that essentially eats the person alive.
After an aggressive initial treatment to kill off the bacteria, the doctors were forced to put the patient on life support, as his organs began to fail within only 24 hours of being admitted.
This organ failure started occurring when the patient’s body developed severe sepsis, a violent immune response to an infection in which the body starts attacking its own organs.
Despite the efforts to save his life, the patient succumbed to the septic shock, with both his kidneys failing completely, and two months after he was initially admitted to the hospital, he died.
Tattoos and tattoo care
Tattoos are made by wounding the skin at the place it is drawn through repetitive needle punctures in the skin. While this method is invasive and creates a superficial wound, the sores can heal back quickly with proper care.
However, the fact that the tattooed part of the body is an open wound, especially in the first weeks after its application, means that any means of possible infection should be avoided.
This, of course, includes avoiding submerging the open sores in any body of water, be it a bath, a pool, or seawater. This could lead to serious infections and even sepsis, like in the case of the man discussed above.
Should you consider getting a new tattoo, you need to know that proper care is crucial not only to preserve the intended look of the tattoo, but also to your health, and this is the most important thing.
There are countless blog posts on the internet which discuss tattoo care from day 1, and you can find more about what you should and mustn’t do when receiving a new tattoo. Everything comes with a dose of responsibility, which if not heeded can lead to serious unwanted results.