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Stick it to ’em

Tyler Semler, Staff Writer

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     Fidget Spinners, the newest iPhone, Vans, and tie-dye shirts. What do all these things have in common? They all are things that most teenagers have, especially at NHS.

     One trend is a “stick and poke” tattoo. A stick and poke tattoo is a homemade tattoo that can be done by yourself, or by a friend. Although it depends on the amount of ink used and where it is on the body, the tattoo usually lasts a few years, but can start fading as soon as a couple months. Depending on the size of the tattoo, it can take between 2-5 hours to completely finish the tattoo, experts say. In Indiana, the law clearly states that if you’re under the age of 18, it is illegal to get any sort of tattoo or piercing in a body shop without parental consent. However, the law is very vague when it comes to giving a tattoo to yourself, which is why teenagers say they are giving them to themselves and their friends.

     When it comes to giving yourself a stick and poke tattoo, there are many things that could go wrong. Among these downfalls are getting Hepatitis C from a dirty or used needle, the finished product of the tattoo coming out poorly, or the chance of the tattoo becoming infected. Though many teens might not take these things into consideration, some do.

     Senior Logan Masters has given himself a stick and poke before, and he says he made sure to do it as safely as possible.

     “I’ve been very careful and looked at videos on how to perform it safely,” Masters said, “I used rubbing alcohol before and after and ran my hand under hot and cold water.”

     After the tattoo was complete, Masters felt some pain, but people who have gotten one before say that is normal to have pain after any kind of tattoo or piercing.

     “The only side effect I had was numbness from the actual stick and poke itself,” Masters said, “The tattoo itself is more irritating pain, but after a week or two, it goes away.”

     Masters has only had his tattoo for a few months, and it is already starting to fade.

     “If you have one on your hand, like me, it tends to fade away faster because the skin on the hand tends to heal faster. Cracks in your fingers and scratches also do not help,” Masters said, “Getting one on your side or chest is where they tend to stay on for longer.”

     Although Masters says he did research on how to safely give himself his stick and poke, others choose not to and risk infection of the tattoo in the long run.

     Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Allison Luellen believes that the safest thing to do is wait to get it done professionally instead of taking the risk of doing it yourself.

     “The risks in order of severity, are skin infections, infections all throughout the body such as abscess and sepsis, and severe deformity of the body if the tattoo is on the torso, neck, or head,” Dr. Luellen said.

     Dr. Luellen also said that dirty needles play a big role in getting diseases from the tattoo.

     “The most common problem with dirty needles is Hepatitis C and abscess at injection sites,” Luellen said, “HIV is also a reoccurring problem I see a lot.”

     Before teens decide on giving themselves a stick and poke tattoo, they may want to consider the consequences that could follow.

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Stick it to ’em