WARNING: Manicures Can Spread the Hepatitis B Infection

Posted on February 1st, 2012 by author  |  3 Comments »

A manicure or pedicure may not be as safe as you think. A recent study shows that going to nail salons may increase your risk of having chronic hepatitis (specifically Hepatitis B) because of sharp instruments that carry a risk of infection if they are re-used.

According to Woman’s Health Channel:

“It’s not just nail salons to watch out for… [A]ny place where you can get tattoos, ear piercing, body piercing, and even dental offices can put you at risk.” (link)

At the moment, about 4.4 million Americans are living with hepatitis but have no idea they have it.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis, meaning liver inflammation, has three designations: “A,” “B,” and “C.” These are used to refer to the type of hepatitis involved. The symptoms for all designations are generally the same:

  • Joint and abdominal pain
  • Fever and Fatigue
  • Jaundice (or the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)

Among the three designations, Hepatitis B is referred to as the “silent killer” because it progresses unnoticed and manifests itself once the patient develops severe liver damage.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with blood and/or body fluids of an infected person. Contact can happen through IV drug abuse, sexual activity with an infected partner, and blood transfusion. The infection can also spread through the use of contaminated tools that can break your skin.

In most cases, hepatitis B infection can be resolved, provided that the patient has a well-functioning immune system. Symptoms can be relieved with rest, lots of water, proper diet (free of sugars, grains, processed foods, alcohol, and drugs), and optimized vitamin D levels.

Is Vaccination for Hepatitis B Recommended?

For prevention of hepatitis B, many people opt to get vaccinated. If you were born in or after 1991, you have probably received the hepatitis B vaccine at birth. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, getting vaccinated does not mean you do not have to worry about hepatitis risks in the future. Within seven to 10 years after vaccination, there are very few or no detectable antibodies that protect against this virus in the blood of most children. This indicates that being vaccinated does not provide lasting protection.

Dr. Joe Mercola adds that hepatitis B vaccination has been linked to dangerous side effects, including putting the health of newborns at risk. Based on the findings of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), operated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“There were 36,788 officially reported adverse reactions to hepatitis B vaccines between 1992 and 2005. Of these, 14,800 were serious enough to cause hospitalization, life-threatening health events or permanent disabilities; 781 deaths were also reported.” (link)

In addition to these numbers, there are more than 60 diseases or adverse health risks associated with hepatitis B vaccination. Common reactions to the vaccine are fatigue, muscle weakness, fever, headache, irritability, and joint pain. Other consequences linked to hepatitis vaccination include disabling neurological and immunological disorders such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Diabetes
  • Guillain Barre syndrome
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Lupus
  • Visual and hearing impairments such as optic neuritis
  • Convulsion and brain disorders such as encephalitis (brain swelling) and brain demyelination

What Are the Other Dangers Associated with Manicure in Nail Salons?

Viral infections are not the only danger you expose yourself to at the nail salon. Most problems occur because of small abrasions, which may happen when a nail file slips or if your cuticles are cut back too far. At the same time, some nail polishes involve or contain a number of toxic chemicals that pose a threat to your health.

Similar to those of some make-up products, chemicals that are found in nail polish may enter your body through your skin. Common hazardous chemicals found in these nail products are:

  • Dibutyl phthalates (DBP) – These have been shown to cause lifelong impairments in rats and have been shown to damage the testes, prostate gland, epididymis, penis, and seminal vesicles in animals.
    Toluene – Chronic exposure is associated with anemia, lowered blood cell count, and liver or kidney damage and may affect fetus development
  • Formaldehyde
  • Oxybenzone

What Are Your Safe Alternatives?

Dr. Mercola says suggests bringing your own nail polish – preferably a non-toxic kind – when you go to nail salons. This will help you avoid any infectious contaminations. Also, be wary of the products and the manicure procedure itself. As a precaution, here are tip-offs that a manicure procedure could harm you:

  • The salon uses unmarked bottles and containers
  • The products have a strong or strange odor
  • You get cuts or abrasions during the procedure
  • The instruments used on you are not sterilized
  • Your skin or nails hurt during or after the manicure
  • Swelling, redness, and other signs of infection begin to manifest

You may also try buffing your nails. According to Dr. Mercola, this is a safer and healthier alternative that can create a nicer, smoother sheen to your nails. This technique will help your nails grow stronger due to increased circulation. Check out this eHow article to know how.

For additional information, read this Mercola article: Some Manicures Can Cause Nerve Damage.

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