Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pathogens for Disease and Safety Precautions

I have purchased a few tattooing materials just for me to help get my base and understanding, not in order to substitute what I will learn but in school and my apprenticeship, but to supplement early knowledge. I bolded each section and my personal comments or anecdotes are italicized...not that anyone cares.

Handwashing: Washing up to the wrist is important, obviously washing ever part of your hands like your cuticles, the back of the hand, the creases in between your fingers, and each digit on each hand in warm water for 20 seconds. The part that I think is interesting is that they tell you to gently pat your hands dry because rubbing them roughly can remove the outer-most dermis, your first line of protection. You pretty much have to wash your hands after you do everything...sneeze, cough, answer phone, touching anything contaminated so after you wash your hands, don't fucking do anything but put on your gloves.

Gloves & Coverings: Obviously this dvd goes above and beyond the health standards required in Oregon because they have arm shields, respirators, and eye shields...and although it does look absolutely retarded, the practice makes sense because they want you to cover mucus membranes such as the nose and eyes and mouth, because transmission in those areas is far easier. Regardless of the coverings, you remove them inside out basically so that you are never touching the area that could be contaminated disposed of in the area you were working in to avoid cross contamination. Also the point obviously is to never touch your skin with contaminated material that might be on your gloves so no touching your face or scratching your arms, otherwise you have to reglove. It is also a given that gloves are single use only and immediately after finishing you must wash your hands again.

Needlestick Procedure: If you poke yourself through the glove there are 7 steps to take immediately: the first is to secure the needle, remove the glove, was for at least one minute using an anti-microbial soap and warm water, dry the area and bandage the wound, see medical attention immediately, after you must report the incident and fill out the appropriate paperwork, and lastly review the incident and evaluate what went wrong. This is definitely a major concern in this field so the handling of needles is not to be taken lightly, I almost wish it was mandatory to do a blood test like they do when you donate blood, it's easy and almost painless, probably not cheap or cost effective though.

Cleaning the Studio: Sink, toilet, mirror, door, handles, all containers: sharps, biohazards,trashcan, work station, ink bottles, honestly anything that has a surface that you touch you should be cleaning just for good practice, and really you should be doing it when the shop opens and when it closes, yes cleaning sucks, yes it is time consuming, but ultimately worth it for your health and the health of your clients.

Barriers: One of, if not the single most important line of protection afforded to body modifiers, table paper, dental bibs, bottle bags, clip cord covers, machine covers. You should absolutely be covering arm/leg rests, your chair if a person is on it without a shirt, put the bags on your clip cord, squirt bottles, power supply & it's knob, lay out the needles, grip, machine, purge the tip of your ointment, fill the rinse cup with distilled water and only distilled water, I had never heard of securing your ink cups to the cart with petroleum jelly or even seen anyone do that, but it makes a heck of a lot of sense...I have a stand for my caps but that is just one more thing to sterilize I guess so for the sake of time this is probably easier. After the set up of the machine you place the barrier but if for any reason you remove it, you must clean all parts of the machine before applying a new one...they don't say this specifically but that probably means going back through the whole sterilization process again so you need to have a shit load of machines it sounds like...or just not ever fuck up which probably isn't likely when you start.

Tattoo Procedure: Skin prep can save your business! The "Green Soap" everyone loves, and even isopropyl alcohol are not adequate skin preps because they don't have the bacteria reduction capabilities required for skin puncturing procedures, techni-care is what they recommend, but everyone probably has their own preference, the neat thing about this is that is works for shaving, and also stencil application. After the tattoo is finished you should place the ointment over the tattoo before covering. Something interesting that I just experienced with my last tattoo is the use of Dri-lock pads, or more commonly seen as the blood pads under the meat you get at the grocery store, pretty smart because they pull fluids away from the skin to inhibit bacteria growth, never use plastic wrap because it traps fluids and heats them near the skin which promotes bacteria growth.

Post-Procedure: Remove all covers and disassemble machines disposing of needles to their sharps container. Place ink cups into the rinse cup as long as it's not going to overflow but do not dump down the drain! Place your paper towels in the cup to soak up the liquid and dispose of the last materials in your other biohazard containers. Obviously you should clean and disinfect your machine and also disinfect your work station.

Tattoo Equipment Processing: For this part you should be using nitrile gloves. They first talk about scrubbing down the tube, but to be honest I plan on using the disposable needle/tube combo probably because of the time/cost efficiency. For arguments sake, they disinfect the hell out of everything inside bio-haz containers for as long as the disinfectant says is necessary but then rinse this stuff off down the drain...I think that is poor practice, but it doesn't give any alternatives. They then use an ultrasonic clean for 30 mins to sterilize the equipment and then rinse all equipment again. If you go this route everything must be dry before you can package it otherwise you will have a bacteria growth problem and you must use the single use-sealable sterilized bags, not ziplocks for the retards who think that could work. Then labeling these packages with dates of sterilization, what it is, and the last spore test number, making sure they are all fully sealed and covered with a piece of sterilization tape, and then after all of this insert the pouches into your autoclave, secure the door and follow it's instructions.

That's not to hard to follow, or remember, but it does seem almost excessive. I am glad for the practice, because you can almost 100% be assured you aren't going to catch something from your artist. Good stuff though overall, a lot of it I knew from watching as I got my tattoos but I also wonder since this is generalized how it differs from what I will have to learn for the state of Oregon.

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