Currently, safety precautions preventing disease transmission aren’t mandated
Lots of people get manicures and pedicures every day without giving a thought to how the simple act of getting pretty can affect their health. A report from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) found that aestheticians wield instruments that could transmit hepatitis.
The ACG report revealed that reusable instruments, such as clippers and nail files, pose a risk of transmitting the hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) if technicians don’t disinfect the items thoroughly after each use. In a documented case, an acute HCV infection was linked to a manicure or pedicure.
Hepatitis viruses, transmitted through contact with infected blood, cause liver inflammation and are the leading reason for liver transplants.
Following the report’s release, the ACG has proposed new guidelines to eliminate transmission risk, including education and training for all technicians, and stricter requirements for hygiene, inspections, disinfection, and storage of manicure and pedicure kits and other equipment.
While the guidelines are a good first step, there are currently no national guidelines in place to prevent HBV or HCV infection in salons. The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations hasn’t issued a recommendation about hepatitis prevention at these businesses. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System don’t include manicures or pedicures on their hep B and C risk factor list.
Here’s how you can protect yourself until precautions are mandated:
Visit reputable professionals
Ask if tools and equipment are cleaned and disinfected after each use.
Bring your own clippers and nail files.