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Bacteria, viruses and fungus among health risks lurking at the nail salon

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Stubborn warts.

Vile nail fungus.

Even serious staph infections. 

If your nail salons and techs don't follow the rules, and properly clean and sanitize their equipment between clients, you could contract this stuff. 

One woman told NBC4's Tom Sussi she left a nail salon last summer feeling more like the ugly duckling than a princess.

“My nail was black,” she said.

And when she removed the polish off her toenails two weeks after her pedicure, she said her big toenail was dark and crusty. Eventually, she said it fell off.

“It hurt like heck," she said.

Dr. Alison Himes works for Dermatologists of Greater Columbus. “Bacteria, viruses and fungus can all be transmitted if the instruments are not properly sanitized,” she said.

Some of these conditions, said Dr. Himes, can be difficult and expensive to treat. Warts, for instance, “sometimes it takes six months or more to get rid of them." And she said, “it can be a painful process to get rid of them."

Dr. Himes said, “You would never go to the doctor and say it’s ok to use the same equipment between patient and patient. You should never go to the salon and expect that, too.”

Nail salons and techs are required to be licensed by the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board. But not all nail salons follow the rules.

Here are four things you can do to take matters into your own hands.

  1. Your salons and techs should be using a disinfectant called Barbicide to sanitize their instruments. The liquid is a deep blue color.
  2. Make sure your salons and techs clean and sanitize their whirlpool and soaking pedicure tubs between uses.
  3. Give your salon a good visual inspection. It should be free of dust, dirt and nail clippings.
  4. Your salons and techs are required to be licensed by the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board. Their credentials should be readily available.

Here’s a link to check to see if your salons and techs are licensed. You can also see if there’s been any disciplinary action taken against them.
 


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