Volume 95, Issue 55

Thursday, January 10, 2002
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Baxter and Rafiq survive crucial vote

Kids love piercing, hate infections

More student housing, but at what cost?

SSSC still suffering budget blues

Elvis lives, vows to run again

News Briefs

Sunny Days

Kids love piercing, hate infections

By Tait Simpson
Gazette Staff

According to a new study, most American undergraduate students are pierced, but for more than one in five of those students, piercing results in skin infections, bleeding or torn flesh.

Published in the journal Mayo Clinical Proceedings, a survey of 454 undergrads at Pace University in New York found that more than 50 per cent had piercings while 23 per cent had tattoos.

Of the students polled during their classes, 17 per cent claimed they had health problems with their body piercing. Students with tattoos reported no incidents of health problems associated with their tattoos.

The doctors conducting the study were looking to see the burden that body art was putting on the medical system explained Lester Mayers, the study's lead doctor.

"If we apply the numbers on a national level and assume that only 10 per cent of infected people between 15 and 30 went and saw a doctor, that represents 1.5 million doctor visits. That's quite a burden on an already strained system," Mayers said.

Other than direct earlobe piercings, navel piercings proved to be the most popular piercing site with females, while males most often pierced other areas of their ear.

According to the study, varsity athletes were more likely to have tattoos than non-athletes. Mayers attributed this to the belief that athletes were bigger risk takers than non-athletes.

"Society thinks of piercings as something that young people do on the spur of the moment, but the students I spoke with had thought about it for weeks or months because they had family and other considerations," Mayers said.

No students reported problems with their tattoos, according to the report, but Mayers said the study cannot take into account the incubation period for infections through needles used in tattooing.

"Students shouldn't be reporting such high levels of infections," said Cass Chrysalids, owner of Chrysalids Body Piercing in London.

"I spend at least 10 minutes talking with clients about how to properly take care of a piercing. There shouldn't ever be any problems," Chrysalids said.

Trudy Bunde, the unit co-ordinator for Western's Student Health Services said infections are possible, but there have been few cases at Western.

"You can get an infection from a simple ear piercing, but we haven't seen any substantial number of students," she said.

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