Autoclave Safe Practice for Body Piercing and Tattooing

April 12th, 2014 by Acmas Leave a reply »

Autoclaves are the best means of sterilizing materials either before reuse or disposal. Autoclave uses moist heat for the sterilization of equipments by subjecting them to high pressure saturated steam at 121 °C and 15 pounds of pressure per square inch depending for around 15–20 minutes on the size of the load and the contents.

This means that all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores are destroyed. Autoclaves work by allowing steam to enter and maintaining extremely high pressure for at least 15 minutes. Heat labile products cannot be sterilized using the autoclave e.g. plastics. There are some risks which are involved in operating an autoclave and can be harmful for any personnel.

Some risks involved in operating Autoclave are

  • Heat burns: caused by hot materials, and the autoclave’s walls or door.
  • Steam burns: These are caused by the residual steam which escapes from the autoclave, and materials upon completion of the cycle.
  • Hot fluid scalds: Just as it sounds, this is caused from boiling liquids and spillage in the Autoclave.
  • Risk of explosion
  • Hand, and arm injuries while closing the door.

Nowadays, it is recommended to use an autoclave at the body piercing shop and body tattoo shops too. All the equipments used for the piercing and tattooing should be autoclaved/sterilized before reuse because unsafe skin penetrations have the potential to spread deadly viruses such as hepatitis.

The main issues in making these activities safe for the operator/owner and the customer/client are:

  • clean premises
  • good operator hygiene
  • avoiding contamination of instruments and materials
  • using correct cleaning, disinfection and sterilization methods
  • Safe sharps disposal.

Some important points for reducing the risk of infection while doing body piercing or tattooing

  • Tattooing and piercing equipments should be sterilized using moist heat sterilization (Autoclave).
  • All the surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned after and before doing piercing and tattooing.
  • Sterilize equipments should never come into contact of used equipments or unsterilized equipments, this can be harmful.
  • Sterile equipments should be handled using sterile forceps.
  • Skin must be swabbed with chlorhexidine or 70% alcohol and allowed to dry for at least 60 seconds before penetration and for the penetration only sterilized equipments should be used as stated earlier.
  • If the area needs to be shaved a disposable or sterilized razor should be used.
  • If bleeding occurs, the client/customer should be asked to apply gentle pressure with a clean dressing and the area disinfected with an antiseptic such as Povidone

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