Working with animals doesn’t realistically give you days off. At home, I don’t get any days off with a house full of rescue critters. When I go into the rehab center, at least I know if I’m sick or my car breaks down that there will be other people there to pick up the slack. But unless there’s some sort of serious issue, I’m not taking time off and this might mean I have to deal with a bit of discomfort.
This is especially true right after getting a new tattoo. I also have a few tattoos. I’m currently working on #7 on my right arm (a gorgeous underwater scene). I always do my best to schedule my appointments to avoid my rehab shifts and periods of extra busyness. But sometimes, the healing takes a little bit longer than anticipated. After my second session on this particular piece, my arm was more swollen than usual and for a couple days longer than normal.
I’ve been hoping for some warmer weather for quite a while now and Mother Nature decided to grace us with an especially hot day when I had to go in to volunteer with a swollen, still healing arm. Which meant long sleeves for me! Thanks MN ;p No worries though! I was able to keep my arm clean and covered during my shift and it’s healing up nicely. But I was very warm and uncomfortable during my (thankfully short) shift.
Just a few general pointers for anyone who might be thinking about getting a tattoo while working in somewhat unsanitary conditions:
- Try to give yourself time off after getting a new tattoo to let your body rest while it’s healing. (I personally try to go for a solid week, but at a minimum give myself two full days of recovery. Talk to your artist and follow their advice always.)
- Keep it covered while it’s healing with loose, soft clothing whenever you’ll be in less clean settings. It needs to breathe but you want to avoid bacteria coming into contact with any fresh wound.
- Wash your hands frequently to avoid accidentally spreading anything icky near your tattoo (or wear gloves if your tattoo is on your hands).
- Shorten your shift if at all possible. I can sometimes sneak out a bit earlier when most of the more challenging or time consuming tasks are done, which gives my body more time to rest without inconveniencing anyone.
- Talk to your artist about your concerns ahead of time and get their take on how to best handle your working conditions while keeping your tattoo protected.
These tips are based on my own personal experience. You should always consult with your tattoo artist and follow their advice. If you’re worried about an infection, talk to a doctor. Common sense goes a long way.
It can definitely make working a bit more challenging or uncomfortable, but people get tattoos all the time in every different field so it’s absolutely doable if you’re smart and safe.