Tattoos are awesome, no doubt. They are one of the best ways to express your artistic self and individuality. However, permanently inking yourself does have some risks.
Tattoos are really cool, I’m sure we can all agree on that. However, if you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, you probably are aware of the healing process. It takes forever, it looks kinda gross sometimes, and dear lord does it sting. However, that’s not the only downside to tattoos. If you don’t take care of your new ink you are very susceptible to infection and disease. Tattooing requires puncturing your skin over and over again, which is technically considered an open wound. Bacteria and pathogens love these VIP entrances into your body, and one man learned the hard way for sure.
One 31-year-old man ignores his tattoo artists instructions for taking care of his new tattoo. The 31-year-old man died after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria from swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. He had a fresh tattoo on his leg and ignored his artist when he advised him to stay out of ocean water for at least two weeks. The British Medical Journal case Reports that the man was infected with a bacteria referred to as Vibrio Vulnificus, a dangerous pathogen present in marine environments. Wounds infected by this pathogen have about a 25% mortality rate, so it is certainly not something to joke around about.
After his swim day, the man started to experience a fever and chills, followed by a rash surrounding his new ink. His symptoms got impressively worse after two days, which caused him to be rushed to the hospital. By this point, the man’s leg had almost changed completely. It is under medical care now, but the entire leg is bright purple – and the tattoo? Well, it started to develop some rather deep wounds.
“Unfortunately even if we are able to identify that the liver is diseased no additional therapies are available beyond antibiotics, wound care and supportive care,” lead author Dr. Nicholas Hedren told IFLscience. “Even despite appropriate antibiotics and supportive care, unfortunately, the infection is very serious and many patients still pass away as the infection overwhelms the body.”
They have yet to master the treatment of this malicious pathogen. There are many clinical studies investigating the bacterium, but I would recommend staying out of any marine environments if you have any kind of cut or wound.