Recently, a Texas man went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico a mere five days after getting freshly tattooed — and died. His tattoo, an open wound still at that point in the healing process, was infected by Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium commonly found in coastal ocean water. Three days after his swim, he went to the hospital with a high fever, swollen bruised skin, and fluid collecting in his leg. It was no good — he was suffering from septic shock, and it progressed quickly. Two months after his initial hospital visit, he passed away. The 72 ounces of beer a day he was drinking didn’t help — apparently liver disease makes you more susceptible to complications with this specific water bacteria.
1. Can I go swimming in the ocean after I get tattooed?
We have a lot more ways you can make sure you take the best care of your new tattoo, and the best care of yourself. But remember the go-to, in case it didn’t stick yet: listen to your artist. They’re the expert, and what they tell you is the golden standard.