Officials warned this week that the popular fish pedicures could spread HIV and hepatitis C. According to the Health Protection Agency, risks are minimal but not unheard of. The spas are currently a trend and most people who use them merely want to experience the sensation of having their dead skin eaten off by the tiny fish, rather than become regular users.
Certain People Should Avoid Fishy Feet
Those who have diabetes, psoriasis, or who have weaker immune systems have been told to avoid the craze, as they are labelled as especially vulnerable to health risks. The tiny garra rufa fish can also pass on infections and bacteria, and so can the tank water, which according to the HPA contains microorganisms. It is often left unchanged.
In addition, if infected clients bleed in the water that is then re-used, blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis could be transmitted. According to a report, the risk is “extremely low, however, this cannot be completely excluded”.
Spas have been given guidance to reduce the risks of infection, with a spokesperson saying, “We have issued this guidance because there are a growing number of these spas. When the correct hygiene procedures are followed, the risk of infection is very low. However, there is still a risk of transmission of a number of infections—this does include viruses like HIV and hepatitis.”
The popular fad has been banned in parts of the US and Canada, especially considering that conventional sterilization of the equipment is unable to take place, as the fish would be harmed. Salons will have to follow very strict cleanliness standards and make sure water is changed after each person. In addition, cuts, grazes, and health conditions should be checked before the treatment begins. You can make sure cuts or infections are healed first, before going to an appointment.
Hundreds of high street salons, malls, and shops have offered the service, with thousands of customers experiencing the trend without thinking twice. Celebrities such as Amy Childs from The Only Way is Essex, James Argent, and Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany have all bee pictured having the treatment.
Christina Wright, head of the fish spa chain Appy feet argued that officials were “scare-mongering”, saying, “We worked for 18 months with the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities making sure our spas were of the highest standard.”