Recently, American singer Paula Abdul suffered a painful thumb infection, which she picked up from a Los Angeles nail salon. This led legislators in the US raising voice in support of a Bill to increase nail salon health standards. The truth is situation in our country is not any merrier.
Each time you opt for a manicure or pedicure, you experience a little bleed. You will dab it with a little antiseptic solution, believing that it’s a minor injury that’ll heal as long as you don’t wear tight shoes. In reality, this could lead you contracting hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and HIV, because the parlour may not always use sterilised scissors.
A recent study claims that a simple fish pedicure could spread deadly infections and diseases in a never-seen-before manner. So, if you are getting great discount at a salon or parlour, re-think again and make sure that you are safe.
Among those living with HB or HC, it is recommended by doctors that personal care items, such as nail files, clippers, and tweezers should not be shared. Small salons and beauty centres do not always adhere to standard precautions, and the tools in many places are not of single-use or adequately disinfected. If a person has a weak immune system or pre-existing conditions like diabetes and psoriasis, it is advisable to stay away from local beauty parlours. Even droplets of blood could readily transmit the infectious diseases. All of these viruses are transmitted through the blood; HB is said to be 50-100 times more likely to be transmitted than HIV, while HC is 10 times more likely. These are asymptomatic diseases — once they enter the blood stream they do not show any symptoms, but may stay in the body for up to 25 years and then cause serious liver problems, even resulting in cirrhosis and cancer. According to a study conducted at 250 parlours in Pakistan in 2011, it was noted that one out of 10 women were infected with HB or HC at beauty parlours.
HC, in particular, has emerged as a major health threat in India. Lack of awareness can have long-term implications. In most infected areas in the country, it is primarily caused by unsafe injections, blood transfusions with unscreened blood, surgical procedures that follow unsafe practices, and use of unsterile needles by intravenous drug users. Unsafe sex can also transmit the virus in rare cases. Body piercing, body art, and tattooing are other causes of the rapid spread of the virus across the country, which are again on the rise amongst the youngsters of our country presently, and culminating in numerous infections of viral Hepatitis, which manifest its chronic symptoms after decades.
Ground level awareness must focus on stepping up on the modes of transmission. You must keep a close watch on how the nail and hair parlours you visit are using clean tools or wearing gloves while performing procedures such as waxing. If hygiene and use of non-disposable items does not seem to be a priority, it is a wise decision to wash your hands off from that particular parlour.
Here are a few precautions you must take: Don’t let a beautician use a previously used towel. Make sure needles are brand new. Insist that personal care items are disinfected. Make sure the salon has ventilation and cleanliness, and that the employees of are vaccinated against HB.