12 April 2016

Always sick? You might need a tattoo

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Did you know 14.5% of Australia’s population are healthier than the rest of us? It’s not because of their diet, exercise routine or genetics.

We’re told to cover them up for job interviews but the inked among us are generally healthier with stronger immune systems. According to new research from the University of Alabama, there is a link between having multiple tattoos and having a stronger immune system.

On the flip side, for a short time after receiving a tattoo, you can lower your resistance to infections and common colds.

Associate Professor Anthropology, Dr Christopher Lynn from the University of Alabama, compared receiving a tattoo to working out.

“After the stress response, your body returns to an equilibrium,” Lynn explained in UA News. “However, if you continue to stress your body over and over again, instead of returning to the same set point, it adjusts its internal set points and moves higher.”

To prove this, Dr Lynn took to a local tattoo business and asked volunteers how many tattoos they had received, how long the procedures had taken and collected a saliva sample before and after the tattoo.

He found that immunoglobulin A levels dropped considerably in those receiving their first tattoo. (In case you didn’t major in anthropology, this is an antibody which lines parts of our respiratory and gastrointestinal systems). This decrease was less in those who had received multiple tattoos.

The body sends immunological agents to the freshly tattooed area, preparing for possible infection. Multiple tattoo sessions constantly raises the threshold to trigger an immunological response. Like working out at the gym, it will take more weight each time to make those muscles sore.

“Competition and tattooing are ways to demonstrate fitness, and tattoos may amplify the fitness signal,” Lynn says.

If you aren’t partial to the idea of going under the needle, there are other ways you can boost your immune system:

Exercise  regularly

Take the stairs. Walk to work or get off a station earlier. Start a lunchtime soccer game with your work colleagues.

Eat plenty of fruit and veg

“Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach,” says Harvard Medical School. If you’re not a fan of fruit, consider a daily multivitamin or supplement to bring your immune system up to scratch.

Get enough sleep

You don’t work well without enough sleep and neither does your immune system. Aim for 8 hours a night- that doesn’t include your morning nap on the train.

Drink in moderation

This means no bingeing, no matter how rough your day was.

If you’re in the healthcare industry, you’ll be interested in knowing that Akolade is holding its Sustaining National Standards Excellence in Sydney from August 30-September 1. With Version 2 of the NSQHS standards being introduced in early 2017, the conference provides attendees with a timely opportunity to examine strategies for ensuring ongoing compliance.

Sustaining National Standards Excellence gives attendees the opportunity to hear from industry leaders and to begin preparations for the implementation of Version 2 while maintaining continuous improvements in other areas- strangely, this does not include tattooing.

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire thought it sounded more impressive.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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