Man dies from infection after going swimming with a new tattoo

Man dies from infection after going swimming with a new tattoo
PHOTO: BMJ Case Reports

Just got a new tattoo? You should really stay away from swimming pools (and the sea) if you did.

A man died after catching a flesh-eating bug infection when he went for a swim - with a fresh tattoo on his skin.

The unidentified 31-year-old had ignored advice given by his tattoo artists to avoid swimming pools and oceans for two weeks, The Daily Mail reported.

Health experts have said that new tattoos should always be kept dry and away from water for as long as the wound is not healed. 

The man had reportedly gone for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico five days after he tattooed his right calf.

He caught a flesh-eating bacteria and developed sepsis because his tattoo wound, which was still fresh, became contaminated after being exposed to seawater.

According to a medical study by BMJ Case Reports, the deceased went into septic shock and had a history of chronic liver disease as well.

Certain liver diseases can increase a person's risk of developing an infection and sepsis, according to US charitable organisation Sepsis Alliance.

Although he was given "aggressive intial treatment", he ultimately died.

A gentle reminder for those getting inked: Follow your tattoo artist's aftercare instructions and you'll be alright.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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