Do you have a tattoo? Have you ever wanted one? Having our bodies adorned with "skin art" is a very personal choice, and one which should not be taken lightly. I myself have a very nice tattoo on my upper left arm which features the heads of five of nature's big cats. It's a one-of-a-kind piece, it has significant meaning to me, and I'm really quite proud of it.

Generally speaking, we take our tattoos to the grave with us. Unfortunately, a poor choice of tattoo parlors could make that trip happen prematurely. Although it may not seem like it, tattooing is a considerably invasive procedure, involving fairly significant trauma to one of our body's major defense systems.

Tattoo recipients in Edmonton, Canada have received a sharp wake-up call regarding the seriousness of being careful when choosing a tattoo or piercing artist. A long-standing tattoo shop there has recently been closed, due to concerns over its nonchalant health and cleanliness standards.
What might be worse yet, is that in addition to discovering that the tattoo artist was allegedly operating in what could arguably be considered a life-threatening manner, regulators have discovered that the shop has retained no records of its clientele. This will make contacting all of the shop's clients about the possibility of being tested for infectious diseases difficult, if not impossible. That's just not right.

At this point, Edmonton officials are making media appeals for the clients of Zipp's Tattoo and Museum shop at Whyte Avenue and 100th Street, Edmonton, Canada, to come forward for infectious disease testing. In the end, the concern may be unwarranted, but for now it's very real.

Consumers who may ever consider having their bodies serve as a tattoo artist's canvas should give serious consideration to the risks and the possible negative results. Infections, allergic reactions, poor choice of placement or subject, and even social stigma are some possible negative consequences.

The Mayo Clinic has furnished us with a quick yet comprehensive overview of tattoo risks and precautions. Anyone interested in the subject would do well to give it a read.

Please always remember: Bad ink is no joke.

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