FISH FOOT SPA MAY SPREAD HIV AND HEPATITIS: The hard selling trend of fish foot spa, which has spread across the world now, has left the doctors warning us about its potential health risks. Fish foot spa/pedicures can spread infections such as HIV and hepatitis, warns government’s Health Protection Agency. According to the agency, people who have a suppressed immune system or have diabetes should definitely not take part in this crazy de-stress treatment at all. We tell you why.
WHAT IS FISH FOOT SPA? A beauty treatment where dozens of fishes nibble the dead skin from your feet which makes your feet clean and smooth. Though in fish foot spa, the risk of transmission of infection is low but it cannot be completely excluded.
HOW IS THE INFECTION TRANSMITTED: The fish tank water contains micro-organisms from which the bacteria can be transmitted. The bacteria can also be transmitted from the spa water if the same water is used for more than one customer. If a person who is infected with HIV and/or Hepatitis (blood-borne viruses) bleeds in the water and the same water is used for another person, it can spread the infection. A growing number of these spas has lead the government to spread awareness about its potential risks.
THE RISK IS EXTREMELY LOW: The risk of getting HIV and hepatitis through fish foot spa is really low due to three reasons. Firstly, a fish itself cannot be infected with the HIV virus and thus, cannot be a carrier. Secondly, it needs an HIV or hepatitis infected person to have an open wound dip in the water which leads to water contamination. Now, this contaminated water can infect a healthy person only if he exposes an open wound in the infected water. Thirdly, the concentration of virus is reduced due to the diluting effect of water.
TIPS FROM HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY: The fad began from Asia itself, however it is banned in some U.S. states like Texas, Florida, Washington and New Hampshire. The ban is placed due to the fear of infection getting spread. Ideally, the equipment should be sterilised but sterilization is not possible in this case as the process can harm the fishes in the equipment.
FOLLOWING MEASURES SHOULD BE TAKEN TO REDUCE THE RISK OF INFECTION:
– Clients should be checked for any underlying health conditions which can put others at risk.
– Feet of clients should be thoroughly checked for cuts or wounds.
– Water should be changed for every new client.