Does Tattoo Flu Exist? (Myths vs. Reality)

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Does Tattoo Flu Exist

Feeling under the weather after getting a new tattoo is an unexpected experience for many, but it can be more common than you think. If you’ve ever found yourself experiencing symptoms like mild fever, chills, body aches, or nausea after getting inked, you might be experiencing is quite common. But does tattoo flu exist? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into exploring what it is, its symptoms, available treatments, how to prevent it, and debunking some common myths. Whether you’re a tattoo lover with many or want your first tattoo, understanding tattoo flu is important to ensure comfortable and healthy tattooing healing.

The symptoms of a Tattoo Flu mostly start to subside within a day or two as your body’s immune system settles down and focuses on healing your new tattoo. However, the duration of tattoo flu can vary from person to person. Some may experience symptoms for only a few hours, while others might have them linger for a couple of days. These symptoms typically appear within hours after getting your tattoo, but in some cases, they may manifest during the tattooing session. It’s important to watch these symptoms and separate them from actual signs of tattoo infection.

Table Of Content:

What is Tattoo Flu? 

Tattoo flu isn’t infectious or hazardous to lifestyle like the seasonal flu. It’s a term that describes a common physical response that some people experience after getting a new tattoo. It’s important to recognize how the body perceives the tattooing process to understand tattoo flu and other infections.

When a tattoo artist creates your new masterpiece, your immune system perceives it as a threat, akin to an injury or wound. Despite the visually striking outcome, your body’s natural defenses respond as if a significant illness is progressing. While you might remain mentally calm during tattooing, your immune system acts like a four-alarm fire.

Myths vs. Reality:

Now, let’s address some common myths and misconceptions surrounding tattoo flu:

Myth 1: 

Tattoo Flu is caused by Germs


while the name is Tattoo Flu, it’s not spread by viruses or bacteria like the typical flu. The term was coined to explain the mild discomfort in overall well-being some people experience after getting a tattoo. This discomfort results from the body’s natural response to skin wounds during tattooing, not from a flu virus.

Myth 2: 

Tattoo Flu is Always Harmful


Even if the term “flu” sounds threatening, the pain and suffering is generally temporary, short, and non-lethal. It would quickly recover from most symptoms once the tattoo has undergone healing. 

  • In essence, tattoo flu is your body’s natural reaction to the tattooing process, similar to how it responds to any injury or wound. Understanding this can help alleviate concerns and ensure a more enjoyable tattooing experience.

Preventing Tattoo Flu:

While tattoo flu is generally mild and short-lived, taking steps to prevent it can make your tattooing experience even more enjoyable. Here are some key strategies to avoid feeling sick after getting a tattoo:

  • Choose a Reputable Artist: Select a tattoo artist known for professionalism and hygiene. Ensure they use clean tools and maintain a sanitary workspace.
  • Stress Reduction: Minimize stress as it can weaken your immune system. A trustworthy tattoo artist not only focuses on hygiene but also helps put your mind at ease.
  • Healthy Meal Before Tattooing: Have a healthy meal before your tattoo session, and bring water to stay hydrated throughout.
  • Take Breaks: During the tattooing session, take breaks to check in with your body and mind. These breaks can lo er stress, reduce your heart rate, and signal to your immune system that it can relax.
  • Proper Aftercare: Follow your tattoo artist’s instructions for tattoo aftercare diligently. This includes keeping the tattoo covered initially, gently cleaning it, applying unscented moisturizer, and protecting it from UV rays once fully healed.

Following these recommendations can increase the likelihood of a smooth tattooing experience and reduce the chances of experiencing tattoo flu or other complications.


Tattoo flu can manifest with a range of symptoms, and it’s important to recognize them to distinguish them from more serious issues. While these symptoms are generally mild and temporary, they can be uncomfortable. Following are some common symptoms:

  • Body Aches: Muscles and joints may feel sore as if you’re coming down with a mild illness.
  • Dizziness: Some people report feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Fatigue: An overwhelming sense of tiredness or fatigue may set in.
  • Fever: You might notice a fever because of a slight increase in your body’s natural temperature.
  • Chills: You could experience shivering or chills, similar to when you have a fever.
  • Nausea/Vomiting: You might feel queasy or even vomit.
  • Stomach Ache and Maybe Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal discomfort is possible.
  • Swelling Around the Area of the Tattoo: Some localized swelling can occur, which is a natural part of the healing process.

Treatment and Duration:

If you find yourself experiencing tattoo flu symptoms, don’t panic. The good news is that it is usually mild and self-limiting. Here’s how to treat it effectively and address the question, “How long does tattoo flu last?”

  • Rest:  Rest is one of the best remedies for any illness.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Adequate hydration helps your body heal faster.
  • Nutrition: Eat healthy, balanced meals. A well-nourished boy can combat the symptoms more effectively.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Steer clear of alcohol during your recovery period, as it weakens the immune system.
  • Follow Instructions: Listen carefully to your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions and follow them accordingly to ensure your tattoo heals properly.


As you embark on your journey to recover from your new tattoo, remember that the appearance of common symptoms is relatively common and, in most cases, temporary. So, now you know Does Tattoo Flu Exist? (Myths vs. Reality). If you experience symptoms of tattoo flu, such as mild fever, chills, fatigue, or body aches, there’s no need to panic. Treat yourself with rest, hydration, and nutritious meals. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate discomfort. These symptoms should subside within a day or two as your immune system calms down and focuses on healing your tattoo.

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