NEWMARKET – York Region Health Services advises that the improper cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of equipment used in personal service settings such as acupuncturists,tattoo and piercing salons, and skin care centres (including mole removal procedures) can lead to the transmission of blood-borne diseases.
If choosing to use one of these procedures, the consumer needs to be aware of potential safety issues and health risks to make an informed and healthy personal decision.
It is also advised that some procedures, in particular the removal of moles, are best administered through a family physician or dermatologist, rather than at a skin care centre. If you have had a mole removed at a skin care centre you may have been exposed to a blood-borne illness and are advised to consult your physician for a blood test.
"The public should know that the risk of infection exists anytime a piece of equipment pierces the skin for any procedure," said Dr. Hanif Kassam, Associate Medical Officer of Health and Director, Public Health Programs for York Region. "Although many of these procedures can be done safely, with no serious health risks to the individual, when they are improperly administered they can be a source of blood-borne illnesses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and a host of other bacterial and viral infections."
York Region Health Services Public Health Inspectors inspect personal service settings such as acupuncturists, tattoo and piercing salons, and skin care centres once a year, according to protocols identified by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The consumer, however, needs to be aware of potential safety issues and health risks to make an informed and healthy personal decision.
Consumers should avoid home-based operations because these premises are unlikely to have been inspected.
Clients of personal service settings should be observant and ensure that operators:
• use only sterile, disposable, single-use needles
• wear gloves and wash hands between customers
• disinfect the skin before procedures
• adequately disinfect and/or sterilize all equipment
If you are concerned that you may have been potentially exposed to a blood-borne illness through improper infection control practises, consult your physician for a blood test.
For details on this or other health-related matters, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.