(TIME) — The risks of getting a tattoo are rare, but real. Here's what to know.
Tattoos are common and usually harmless, but they have been linked to health issues. Here's how your tattoo could be affecting your health.
A recent study, published in the journal Stigma and Health, found that when hypothetical patients with HIV or lung cancer had tattoos, others were more likely to blame them for their high health care costs compared to tattoo-free folks with the same illnesses. The study provides “initial evidence that tattooed individuals face health disparities,” the study authors write.
It’s normal to experience some swelling, redness and soreness after getting a tattoo, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and most people won’t notice any health issues beyond these relatively harmless symptoms. Some people, however, develop infections or allergic reactions in the days, months or even years after getting a tattoo, the AAD says. Watch for symptoms that can suggest a larger problem, including worsening pain; a rash, blisters or bumps on the skin; fever; chills; and pus or fluid coming from the tattoo.