Most consumers are not really aware of the real risks involved in getting a pedicure these days. With so many lawsuits connected to deaths, chronic infections and disfigurement from pedicures; you would think the public would be clamoring for reform. Just the opposite, most consumers are either blissfully unaware or completely blow off the risks and have the "it will not happen to me" attitude.
Approximately $ 6 Billion dollars are spent on spa related nail care every year, making it a huge industry. A pretty pedicure can be accompanied by a take-home surprise: hepatitis, cutaneous herpes, warts, HIV, bacterial and fungal infections. These can be deadly, especially in the diabetic or immuno-compromised patient!
A 43-year-old San Jose, California woman's husband remembers the small cut on her toe that led to her death from a skin infection in 2004. A 46-year-old Ft Worth, Texas mother left the pedicure salon with a small abrasion on her heel from a pumice stone in July 2005 and died of staph related illness in Feb 2006. Her family is still embroiled in a wrongful death lawsuit. Texas, California, and Florida have taken a closer look at the cosmetology industry and have put stronger sanitization laws in place, but the consumer needs to be more aware of their risks and simple precautions!
You may never be 100% safe from infection when receiving a pedicure, but there are many simple precautions consumers can take to protect themselves.
1. What does the salon look like? If it's not clean and shiny like a doctor's office, do not stay! Cleanliness is next to godliness in the nail salon!
2. Always check the photo on the technician's license. Make sure they match.
3. Ask about sanitation procedures. Instruments should be autoclaved in a steam sterilizer just like surgical instruments. When in doubt, bring your own! There are lots of instrument sets available to purchase and clean yourself.
4. Is the spa chair cleaned after every pedicure and is it pipeless? This is a new chair technology that is available to make you safer. Has the spa updated their old whirlpool chairs with this pipe-less technology?
5. Did the nail technician wash their hands after their last pedicure? Hand washing should be standard protocol and results spread of almost all pathogens including the common cold.
6. Is the nail technician wearing gloves? Why does OSHA not require nail technicians to wear gloves when doctors, nurses and dental technicians are forced to don them. You would not let a dentist technician clean your teeth without gloves, would you?
7. Never let the technician come even close to you with a blade or scalpel unless you can view their medical license. This puts you more at risk. If your calluses or heel fissures are that thick, please visit your podiatrist prior to the nail salon.
Nail salons are absolutely improving their sanitation and trying to make you safer, but you must be a savvy consumer. The risk of infections from pedicures can be effectively eliminated if the operator used autoclaved or disposable instruments, used a pipe-less pedicure spa chair, wore gloves, employees washed their hands, and used proper sterilization techniques. Demand a safe pedicure or you and your family may be sorry!