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Hepatitis Anyone? You may want to reconsider before getting your nails done or a fresh hair cut. Why? Clients innocently walking into barber shops and nail salons are unsuspecting of the potential dangers that lie in a nail clip or a razor. Customers may be at risk for Hepatitis infection if the paraphernalia are improperly sterilized.
Although there are laws and regulations that require barber shops and nail salons to disinfect their finger bowls, razors, scissors, clippers, brushes and foot basins, there’s no guarantee that the procedures are being followed.
Researchers analyzed a Virginia Department of Health report on the risk of contracting Hepatitis infection through the use of unsterilized utensils in barber shops and nail salons. They are to present their findings at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Washington D.C.
In a news release, Dr. David A. Johnson, of Eastern Virginia Medical School, questions whether there is sufficient compliance with the disinfection protocols that nail salons and barber shops are supposed to follow.
Dr. Johnson is concerned that the study of the transmission of infectious diseases like Hepatitis B and C are grossly understudied in the United States – thus putting many people at risk.
The study was prompted by a case of acute Hepatitis C which was “clearly related to a manicure/pedicure treatment” according to Dr. Johnson.
Hepatitis causes the liver to swell and can be a lifelong illness.
As a customer, your best bet (and your right) is to ask your clinician if he follows procedure – and then watch to make sure he or she does! If he doesn’t, insist that he does, or tell him you will switch to another provider.
Another alternative is to bring your own clippers, scissors, razors and nail files to your appointment.
In order to reduce Hepatitis transmission, it’s important to educate yourself about how the disease is transmitted. Get proper training if you’re a nail technician or a barber. Use good hygiene and disinfection in the work place. Sanitize all utensils after use.
There are no current federal government infection-control guidelines for preventing the spread of Hepatitis in barbershops or nail salons, but you can use the guidelines presented above to protect yourself and others.