Feeling Sick After Getting a Tattoo? – Here’s Why!

Getting a tattoo might sound fun and exciting, but for your body, the very process of getting a tattoo and healing is quite stressful. This is why many people experience different health related things and tattoo side effects once their tattoos are done.

Some feel sick, others are nauseous and others are in a lot of pain for the first few days. It’s safe to say that getting a tattoo is quite an unpleasant experience, especially if you have a low tolerance for pain and are prone to getting sick.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re going through the unpleasant stage of tattoo healing right now. So, to make this as easy as possible (and save you reading nausea), we’re going to dive into why you feel sick after getting a tattoo. Let’s start!

Post-tattoo sickness or tattoo flu: 6 things you need to know

1. What does the body go through during and after a tattoo?

Before discussing the reasons why you feel sick after a tattoo, we must first understand all that the body goes through in such a process. This will give you insight into how your body is reacting making you feel sick, nauseous, and overall pretty bad.

Now, during a tattooing process, your body gets stung thousands of times. After all, the newly created tattoo is also a newly created open wound your body begins to prioritize fast and proper healing. You are deliberately injuring your body, so the body must react to the injury or damage.

Therefore, white blood cells are “sent to the scene of the crime” to repair what can be repaired. For example, these cells transport excess ink particles and eliminate them through the bloodstream; this is the job of your lymphatic system.

But what exactly happens in your body during and after a tattoo?

  • Thanks to the rapid work of your white blood cells, your adrenaline increases, which can increase your heart rate. This alone can make you feel dizzy and weak since your body is in “fight or flight” mode; he is attacked by a tattoo needle thousands of times, so the reaction is quite normal.
  • Your body becomes stressed and tense in response to repeated pain. Along with the rise in adrenaline, stress and tension in the body create a mix of reactions that directly affect your immune system.
  • As your immune system becomes involved in the situation, it gets weaker. This means that your body is weak, the immune response is impaired and therefore you are more prone to illness after a tattoo than you usually would be.
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For this reason, it is essential to take care of your body before and after a tattoo. What we mean by this is; drink plenty of water, eat healthy, nutritious foods, exercise, and consider taking vitamin supplements if you think your vitamin intake is insufficient. All of this will help your immune system stay on top of its game, especially during the aftermath of the tattoo and the healing process.

2. Symptoms of a tattoo flu

Getting sick after getting a tattoo is also known as the “tattoo flu”. But, how do you know you’re not dealing with an allergic reaction to the ink or a tattoo infection? What are the symptoms of tattoo flu?

Well, just like the usual flu sickness, tattoo flu manifests with the following symptoms;

  • Fever
  • Cold chills
  • Tiredness and weariness
  • Pain
  • feel weak
  • In some cases, stomach problems and diarrhea
  • tattoo swelling
  • Possible nausea and vomiting

3. Should I be worried about getting tattoo flu?

In the majority of cases, symptoms of sickness, nausea and flu disappear within a day or two after tattooing. During this time, your body recovers and focuses on healing “the injury” rather than further damaging the immune system.

However, if any of the symptoms persist for more than a day or two, be sure to seek medical attention. You may be suffering from a tattoo infection, which requires proper examination and treatment. Otherwise, be sure to take flu medication, which is usually available over the counter. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat nutritious meals rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.

4. Reasons why you feel sick after a tattoo

There are many reasons why you might feel sick, sick or nauseous after getting a tattoo. Here are some of the main causes of such unpleasant occurrences;

  • Your immune system is weak
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As we explained earlier, tattooing directly affects your immune system. Due to the increase in adrenaline, repeated strong pains and general stress, the body does not really know how to react. As a result, the immune system weakens, making your body more easily prone to illnesses and the flu, since it can’t really fight off bacteria and viruses.

  • You already face the disease

If you come to a tattoo appointment already sick, chances are that after a tattoo you will become even sicker. It is strongly advised not to get a tattoo while sick because the immune system becomes too weakened to cope with a new tattoo. As a result, your tattoo could easily get infected, as the body cannot fight infections in such a state.

  • You drank alcohol before a tattoo

First of all, getting drunk before a tattoo appointment is irresponsible and rude to the tattoo artist. On the rare chance that you get tattooed while drunk, chances are you’ll feel terrible after the process is complete. You will feel nauseous, weak, dehydrated and of course sick. It is important in such a case to eat well and drink plenty of water to help your body recover.

  • You did not drink food or water before getting a tattoo

In order to deal with all the trauma of the tattoo, your body needs energy. And where does the energy come from? Well, food and water. It is essential to eat well and drink a glass of water before getting a tattoo. Otherwise, your hunger and thirst will tell your body that there is no source of energy. And, in turn, you might start feeling nauseous and sick after the tattoo is done.

5. How to prevent illness after tattooing?

Not everyone gets the tattoo flu, actually. But some people may experience nausea and nausea, especially if getting a tattoo for the first time. So, to prevent tattoo flu from happening, here’s what you need to do;

  • A few days before the tattoo appointment, stock up on foods rich in vitamins and minerals. This will help boost your immune system and prepare it for what’s to come. However, do not overdo your vitamin intake (especially if you take vitamin supplements) to avoid hypervitaminosis.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated, before, during and after tattooing. The recommended water intake for an adult person is 8 glasses of water and more. So be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water and bring a bottle of water to the appointment, just in case you need to sip something and beat the thirst.
  • Eat a hearty and nutritious meal before going to a tattoo appointment. Your body will need energy to deal with the pain, skin damage, and other effects of the tattoo.
  • Do not drink or abuse substances before going to a tattoo session. Chances are you’ll be denied a tattoo, and even if you pass for sober, you’ll feel incredibly sick, nauseous, dehydrated, and irritable during and after the session. Alcohol will also thin your blood, which will also increase tattoo bleeding.
  • Bring a snack to eat during the tattoo session. It will keep your sugar levels normal and keep you energized throughout the pain and discomfort of the tattoo.
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6. When should I start worrying?

The tattoo flu, if it occurs, shouldn’t last more than a day or two. However, if it does not improve or the symptoms continue to worsen, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. You could have a tattoo infection or other health complications. This may be cause for concern.

However, if the symptoms go away, keep feeding your body minerals, vitamins, and proteins to maintain a good immune system response. Also, remember to follow the aftercare guidelines provided by your tattoo artist. They are essential for proper healing of the tattoo.

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