Friday, December 18, 2009

Are tattoos harmful?

Body designs are very attractive and cool and are gaining popularity at a very rapid speed. And a recent census in America showed an estimate of 15 thousand tattoo shops spread around the country. But, if you are deciding on printing one – or more – on your skin, it is a good idea to check out some of the facts. This is not at all for frightening enthusiasts but just for the sake of awareness.

The act of tattooing is much like a sewing machine, except for the fact that the needle which is pierced into the top layer of the skin, contains a segment of ink. The process might even take hours and could involve a bit of bleeding and mild pain.

The occupants in the field of tattooing along with hair dressers, manicurists and a few other occupations, are classified as "personal service workers". And in most of them, there is a relation with blood and because of this medical agencies have investigated. It is said that blood-borne diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis B and C and a few more can be transferred in tattoo shops.

AIDS: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and prevention) has stated recently that since 1985, there has been no data consumed of tattooing leading to AIDS. But, 7 cases have been pinned on dentistry.

Hepatitis C: In a recent study by the researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas which studied many patients, 18% of which had tattoos. Of this 18%, about 20% had Hepatitis C. Only 4% of the ones without tattoos had the disease. 

Although, these blood-borne diseases can be transferred under some conditions. This means that, if the needle being used is sterilized and other precautions are followed, the risk of relocation of the microbes will decrease. 

Skin allergies, infections and disorders might also show up in some bodies.
The legal age for getting a tattoo is in most countries 18 but is 16 in some European ones.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Malaria is an infectious disease which currently affects about 45% of the world population and kills 2-3 million people annually; many of which are children. A shocking note is that approximately 1 child dies every 30 seconds from this disease.
The word Malaria was shortened to this form from the Italian word Mal 'aria meaning "bad air". Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite called plasmodium which enters the human body through the bite of a female anophele mosquito.
The parasite has many species, many of which affect animals and only four that affect humans. Out of these four species, only one (plasmodium falciparum) is deadly and vital if not diagnosed and dealt with on time.

The parasite – a complex one celled organism – transmits in a very complicated way through two hosts (for more info on this, check out:       ). After entering the human body – or in other words, the vertebrate host – it attacks the red blood cells and by multiplying, it bursts and destroys them.

The incubation period (the period of time until the symptoms kick in) is usually 1 to 3 weeks. But due to some factors such as genetics, this period can range from a few days to even a few months. The first 24 hours is usually along with headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle ache, fever and anemia are some of the symptoms. But after this period, three stages (extreme coldness and shivering, extreme feeling of warmth and abnormal sweating) keep on happening simultaneously. This means that each of these stages will happen for a few hours and after the sweating stops, the cycle will start again after a day or so.   

Pregnant women:
Pregnant women are at risk of many disorders and as they share their body with an embryo, many of them can affect the child as well. Malaria is also one of these dangers.
About 1 million infants die annually from Malaria worldwide; about 200-300 thousand of these deaths happen in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Unlike the ordinary flu, Malaria is not passed on through sneezing and coughing and only through the transfer of the infected blood by an anophele mosquito. So those who are in malaria-zones or are traveling there, must consult with their doctors. Full body covering, bug sprays and nets around sleeping area can also be useful in malaria-zones.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Trench Mouth

During the World War 1, the Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (NUG) disease was very common among the soldiers in trenches, so the disease was nicknamed Trench Mouth.  

Trench mouth is literally a severe and acute situation of gingivitis (for more info on gingivitis visit:     ). In general there is a population of bacteria living in our mouth. But without proper oral hygiene the abundance of bacteria will increase and cause severe infections on the gum level.

This can lead to the swelling and redness of the gums. Ulcers – crater like sores – might also show up due to the imbalance of defensive and aggressive powers. The patient will feel a bad taste in his/her mouth and might run off friends due to bad breath. Also, the lymph nodes beneath the jaw might become affected leading to a fever.

The symptoms of the different stages of gum disease are similar but become harsher as time rolls. The final result will be the loss of bone attachment to the tooth and the tooth's loss. So consultation in the earliest stage in which symptoms show up, is necessary.


Though other minor gum disorders are common, trench mouth is very rarely spotted; and in those few cases, its usually among college students, smokers or others dealing with any of the other causes mentioned here: smoking, bad nutrition, stress and bad oral hygiene.

Prevention and treatment:

The professional treatment is by using hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse, but natural remedies are if not more, as equally effective. Some believe that using baking soda as a rinse or a paste is very helpful due to its alkaline state, natural infection killing characteristic and anti-inflammatory properties. Herbal treatments such as Chamomile tea as a rinse with healing quality; rubbing parsley leaf on gums or chewing it is also accredited for reducing the wicked smell of the patient's mouth.