A nail salon in London, Ont. was recently shut down after a client contracted hepatitis B from a manicure and pedicure.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit is advising all clients of Cali Nails in the region’s White Oaks Malls to get tested for blood-borne infections, including hepatitis B, C and HIV. The advisory is issued particularly for clients who went to the salon anytime between May 4, 2017 and Jan. 5, 2018.
Mary Lou Albanese, the manager of the infectious disease control team, says it is currently unknown what procedure caused the client’s infection, but that a public health alert was still necessary since the salon was guilty of previous infection control infractions.
“Although the risk is generally low, inadequate infection prevention and control practices in personal service settings, such as nail salons, barber shops, spas, or tattoo and body art shops, can result in the potential transmission of blood-borne infections, as well as common skin infections," reads part of the heath unit’s warning.
While infections are relatively rare, they still do happen. Several people across the country have gotten infections from getting their nails done. One woman in Sherwood Park, Alberta claims her toe became swollen after it was struck by a sharp tool under the nail. The Alberta Health Services also received over 100 similar complaints in Edmonton since April 2016.
“[Clients can contract] anything from a bacterial infection to a fungal infection and also viral infections,” said an AHS medical officer of health to Global News. “Whether that would be warts or blood-borne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.”
Hepatitis B is a virus that primarily damages the liver in an acute or chronic fashion. Similar to other blood infections, is transmitted via contact with contaminated blood or other bodily fluids. Most students in Ontario receive the vaccine in the seventh grade.
Of the three blood-borne infections, HIV has the lowest risk of contraction, however health officials have included it in the warning to be thorough. They also advise that nail salon clients take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves against possible infections:
1. Avoid the nail salon if you have an open wound or scab on your hands or feet, as well as if you have diabetes or a compromised immune system.
2. Observe the tools being used and make sure they are stainless steel and presented in sealed packages. Or, if they are previously used, they should be soaked in jars of an appropriate disinfectant.
3. Ensure the water used in basins is fresh and filled in front of you. Jetted tubs have a higher risk of being unsanitary.