The “Diabetes-Curious” and Self Inkers/Piercers at Risk
Viral hepatitis B and C, which can cause life-threatening damage to the liver, can be the unintended consequence of two recent social trends: diabetes curiosity and self-inking/piercing. Diabetes curiosity refers to those who use someone else’s lancet and glucose meter diabetes testing devices to prick themselves to test their own blood sugar levels. Self-inkers/piercers are people who use needles or other devices to create tattoos or pierce themselves or friends. In both cases, a life-threatening hepatitis infection can spread quickly from one person to another.
“We have concerns about people borrowing someone else’s diabetes testing equipment to see what their own blood sugar levels are,” said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “With these devices now commonplace, the testing process can generate curiosity. Parents need to know and remind children who use the devices not to share them with others, and parents of non-diabetic children should teach everyone in their family to never, ever experiment with another person’s insulin-related equipment.”
While tattoos and piercing for body adornment have been around for generations, the increased popularity of skin as a canvas for decoration causes alarm for health professionals. The primary concern isn’t tattoo/piercing studios, which are licensed and inspected, but unlicensed individuals who ink or pierce themselves or others.