What to look for when determining whether a tattoo is infected

There is a possibility of minor inflammation after getting a tattoo. Infections and other types of reactions may also occur, depending on the circumstances.

40% of Americans aged 18-69 years old have at least one tattoo, according to a 2017 survey. Another 19% were considering getting a tattoo, while 1 in 4 had several.

0.5–6% of adults with tattoos had infectious complications, according to a 2016 study by trusted Source.

A tattoo that causes severe symptoms or pain that lasts for more than a few days may indicate an infection that needs medical attention.


It is common for people to experience some pain, redness, and swelling after getting a tattoo from a licensed, reputable tattoo artist. Itching may occur as the tattoo heals.

Most new tattoos heal within a few weeks with basic care and good hygiene, but some people may develop an infection that requires medical attention.

Tattoo infections are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • a rash, redness, or bumps in the tattoo area
  • a fever
  • worsening swelling
  • purulent drainage
  • increasing pain
  • shaking, chills, and sweats

Symptoms and types of infections

Ink injections expose the body to substances it would not normally encounter. If bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens are present in the ink, they can cause an infection or reaction.


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