Dec 30, 2016

Top 5 Ways to Avoid Getting an Infection in a Nail Salon

Lately, there is a post going around social media about some woman getting infected with AIDS after a manicure session. Read the article from DailyMail here.

First of all, this was a 2014 article and I could not find any further cases from the later years on the internet (please let me know if you do). Therefore can I say this is the one and only case so far?
Also, it was noted in some other write-ups of this same incident that it was a "suspected" case, not a confirmed one - so this makes me wonder which of the online news is the most accurate!

If you understand AIDS, there is a "window" period of which the symptoms will start to show and accelerate to become more serious, warranting a blood test. You can read more about AIDS here.

So it would be weeks of flu-like symptoms before this woman gets herself checked. During this period, she might be exposed to other possible risks of contact to get infected.

Even if this case is not confirmed as a Fact or Myth, there is still an unmistakable risk in a nail salon. Might not be AIDS, but other equally terrible contagious diseases like Athlete's Foot, Fungus, Ringworm, etc.

The processes involved in a manicure or pedicure can highly expose you to possible chances of cross-infection. Some of the processes includes:
  • Sharing of non-sanitised tools (ie. nail files, buffers, toe separators, etc.)
  • Sharing of a dirty foot bath (not properly disinfected in between customers)
  • Injury caused by improperly disinfected metal tool (ie. cuticle nippers, nail clippers, etc.)
  • Handled by an infected therapist
  • Dirty towels
I had heard of unethical nail salons that cut corners to save operating costs. So I recommend that you rely on your eyes to observe the operations of the nail salon BEFORE you even start your manicure. Remember that it is OK to walk out of the salon before you start your appointment if you are not comfortable with what you observed.
Read about Salon Nightmares that are busted by undercover CBS reporters here.

Here are top 5 pointers on what to look out for:
  • Are there a UV cabinet and Barbicide (read more about benefits here) soaking equipment in full view of the customers?
  • Inspect towels if there are any dust or polish stains. Are there different towel set for use between manicure & pedicure?
  • Observe if the pedicure bath basin is being scrubbed down after each client.
  • Are the metal tools being sealed in a sterilised bag before using on you?
  • Shop must look clean, neat and tidy at all times. Check manicurist's basket if it's clean and neatly arranged.

Here are some pointers to note before deciding to get your nails done. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you have any open wound, avoid getting your nails done to prevent risk of cross-infection.
  • Ensure to find out more about the hygiene procedures and protocols the salon observe.
  • Manicures should NOT be painful. If you feel uncomfortable, especially during the cuticle cleaning process, speak out to the manicurist. 
  • At no point in time should any injury be caused, common injuries are usually caused by inexperienced and careless staff. Some injuries involve cut from new nail files, over pushing of cuticles, over cutting of cuticles and nails. Make sure to apply antiseptic and see a doctor should you be injured during a manicure session. You should not proceed with the manicure and ask for a refund.
  • Bring along your own manicure and pedicure tools for personal use. Ensure that the manicurist DO NOT mix your tools with their own and learn to disinfect or sterilise on your own at home after each use.