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Body modification is one of the most popular forms of self-expression in the world. While many people go to the extreme, with some even removing fingers and toes, the traditional piercing is still one of the most widely used forms of body modification. Many adults make the decision that they want to have a piercing, but unfortunately, teenagers also make this decision before they’re fully capable of recognizing the potential risks and disadvantages of doing so.
These teenagers sometimes go alone and sneak out and get piercings without permission, too. Any parent that has been the focus of their teen’s seemingly endless campaign to get a piercing may wonder what all the fuss is about if they do. They may say, so what? So my teen came home from school or a friend’s house with a piercing they didn’t give their child permission to get – Big whoop!
The truth, however, is that it can be a health risk, and according to the officials at Southern Nevada Health District, teens put themselves at risk of diseases such as hepatitis or HIV when they get these rogue piercings. In fact, a piercing can prove to be damaging to their health in several different ways, so every parent should understand the dangers their teen faces with piercings and the potential remedies.
In Las Vegas, Spring Valley High School officials recently took a tough stance on piercings and its dangers after a parent contacted them after their child got an infection when another student gave them a piercing. They sent home a letter to all student’s parents warning of the dangers of piercing with unclean needles and threatened disciplinary measures if the actions continued.
The incident came to light after some of the students from Spring Valley High School were using devices such as paper clips and sewing needles to pierce other student’s ears, nipples and navels during school and at their homes. The school district officials said that the practice is very dangerous, and their spokesman, Michael Rodriguez said, “We want parents to be aware and have that conversation with their kids.”1
Have the conversation with your teenager about piercing, and if you do relent to let them get one, make sure it’s done by a professional service. It’s important because an infection most likely will occur if the hole is not properly cleaned when it’s done and during the healing process. The service should give your teen instructions on how to clean the piercing correctly, too. Look for infection signs at the site while it heals, such as redness, heat, and swelling, a discharge of puss, or bleeding.
Teens experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately. Although professional ear piercing services are competent at performing piercings, they are not without risks, and it is something you will need to consider when deciding if your teen should get a piercing or not. Here are a few suggested facts to go over before going to get your teenager’s piercings:
Potential Piercing Risks
Sadly, there are a variety of health issues that could arise if a teenager gets a piercing, and one of the most common is infection of the piercing site. This is especially the case on hard-to-heal piercings, such as those in the cartilage of a person’s body, and they can cause anything from pain in the ears or even the inability to breastfeed if it occurs in a nipple piercing.
Even scarier, however, is the fact that the infection could turn systemic and spread throughout the body. In the end, this can lead to death. Fortunately, this definitely isn’t one of the most common side effects. Minor infections, tearing of the skin, allergies to certain metals used, permanent scarring or damage to nerves or blood vessels, though, are more commonly experienced.
Piercing Injury Liability
Unfortunately, getting a piercing comes with many inherent risks, and when an injury results that’s normal for a type of piercing, even if the teen wasn’t old enough to get it, there may be nothing that a parent can do. If this type of injury does occur, though, it’s best that they speak with an attorney. This is because certain negligent acts, such as incorrectly performing the piercing or failing to use hygienic practices, can result in detrimental injuries that the tattoo artist, parlor or service may be held liable for.
Piercings in the nose, tongue, ear, nostril and belly button are among the most popular with teens. Sadly, complications with any of these piercings can lead to expensive medical bills, and when it can be proven that the piercer was negligent in performing their duty, it’s important to do so. This way, compensation for liability can be received to help cover medical bills.
It should be noted, though, that a typical injury doesn’t magically become a case of negligence just because an underage person was pierced. Popular teen methods of getting tattoos include fake IDs, and it’s not up to a tattoo artist to recognize these bogus identification cards. If a parent recognizes that their underage child has been given a nipple or genital piercing, though, dependent on local laws, the piercer may actually be guilty of child molestation.
Mitigating the Risk
While it may seem like a good idea to make a teen immediately remove their piercing, this could easily lead to an infection. This is why, if a parent chooses to make their teen remove the piercing, they should first speak with a doctor to find out when it’s safe to do so. During the waiting period, and for parents who choose to let their teen keep the piercing, it’s imperative to ensure that they follow all appropriate care instructions.
Again, for most piercings, clean the site in the way that is recommended by the professional that did the piercings. If the piercing site becomes especially swollen, discolored or painful, seek out medical help.
Getting a piercing can be one of the most exciting things that a person ever does, and sadly, teens may recognize this fact without recognizing the risks. This is why it’s so important for a parent to stay abreast of their teen’s activities, and if their teen does get a piercing, they should always respond appropriately. There are ways to mitigate the health risks of such an activity, but when these fail, knowing how to respond legally is essential.