A NEW study of 8,976 women attending the Rotunda maternity hospital in Dublin who were tested for hepatitis C found some were infected through tattoos.
Of the women who were tested, 78 were positive for the virus and risk factors included drug abuse and tattooing.
With the fashion for tattoos now spanning all age groups, it's worth remembering the industry is unregulated.
There are plenty of reputable parlours operating but here is the checklist to inquire about before submitting yourself to the needle.
Ask the artist do they do the following:
* Sterilise needles and keep separate ink pots.
* Make sure equipment doesn't come into contact with anything else that could spread an infection.
* Sterilise any equipment that may come into contact with blood.
* Use safety gloves.
* Clean and disinfect surfaces.
* Cover a fresh tattoo with a dressing to prevent infection or disease transmission.
* Safely dispose of any materials that come into contact with blood.
Also, check your tattoo regularly to make sure it has not become infected.