Getting a new tattoo can cause a lot of weird symptoms and reactions. Essentially, you have an open wound and your immune system is trying to heal the area that just experienced a lot of stress and trauma. But if you’re suffering from a fever, you may be wondering if that’s something normal or something to be concerned about.
How Can Tattoos Cause a Fever?
After a new tattoo, your body might have an immune system response to the injury that feels similar to being sick or under the weather. There is even a name for this phenomenon which is tattoo flu.
Symptoms of tattoo flu can include but are not limited to:
- Body aches
- Light fever
- Some chills
- Heightened sinus issues
It doesn’t matter if this is your first tattoo or your fifteenth, your body’s reaction can be different every time you get inked and tattoo flu cannot be anticipated, though it is very uncommon.
Is it Normal to Have a Fever After Getting a Tattoo?
Yes and no. If you are experiencing the tattoo flu, you may have a fever within the first 24 to 48 hours of getting your tattoo, but it will be a very light fever as your body tries to fight off any infection in your wound.
How Long Will It Last?
If this fever is nothing to be concerned about and is related to tattoo flu, then it will dissipate in 24 to 48 hours. If it lasts longer than that, there is cause for concern.
What Can You Do to Feel Better?
Like any cold, flu, or sickness, your body needs to rest when you are experiencing tattoo flu or have a light fever. You can take pain medications like Tylenol, but should avoid blood thinner medications which could complicate your healing process even further.
A fever is your body trying to fight off foreign substances or bacteria, so you should clean your tattoo carefully and monitor how long the fever lasts. In addition, you should drink a lot of water so you are not dehydrated.
When is a Fever Not Normal?
If your fever is very heightened or lasts longer than a day or two, your body might actually be fighting off an infection from your tattoo. Infections can be caused by:
- Unsterilized tattoo shops or equipment
- Unexperienced or unprofessional artists
- Poor aftercare procedures
- Ink with harmful substances or mold
- Allergic reactions
Check out our Tattoo Aftercare Guide
Dr. Linda Katz who works for the FDA says, "More aggressive infections may cause high fever, shaking, chills, and sweats. Treating such infections might require a variety of antibiotics -- possibly for months -- or even hospitalization and/or surgery."
Other signs of infection include:
- Extreme swelling
- Bad smells coming from the tattoo
- Skin around the tattoo is hot to the touch
- Red streaks extending from your tattoo
- Rashes or pimples
If you are ever concerned about your fever following your tattoo, it’s best to speak to a medical professional who can give you the appropriate advice for your circumstances.
Our Final Thoughts
While tattoo flu and fevers can come out of nowhere when you get a new tattoo, remember to continue to monitor your temperature, take care of your wound, and get the rest your body needs to recover quickly. If your fever lasts more than a day or two or is paired with any other questionable symptoms, speak to a medical professional who can give you the best advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry!