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04.13.07

Body piercing risks pinpointed

Posted in Piercing News at 6:41 am by admin

MORE than a thousand people have been treated for body piercing-related infections and injuries in the southern suburbs in the past year, a survey reveals.

The most common body parts to have problems were the tongue, navel, lips and nipples.

Southern Primary Health consultant Steve Parker said 132 GPs and 22 body piercing practitioners were questioned for the survey.

The figures were a concern given that body piercing was the fastest growing form of body decoration among young people, he said.

“Any penetration of the skin, with resultant bleeding, may cause injury and infections including the transmission of blood-borne viruses,” he said.

“However, body piercing does not have to be hazardous to health as long as it is carried out in a professional, sterile environment where consistent after-care advice is provided.”

Piercers quizzed in the survey said the high rates of infection could be related to after-wound care or problems associated with unhygienic piercing practices.

Almost all indicated that the infections they had seen warranted a referral to a doctor or local hospital.

Mr Parker said the health survey also asked body piercers to consider what was needed to make their industry safer for consumers.

“Common responses were the need for further education in safe work procedures – particularly in sterilisation – first aid and the need for industry accreditation,” he said.

There is no minimum age for body piercing in South Australia and the industry is largely unregulated.

Mr Parker said although the number of infections reported in the survey was a worry, it had provided health authorities with preventative strategies to address the issue.

“This included ensuring that those who provide skin penetration procedures have access to education and training in first aid and sound infection control strategies,” he said.

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