At the beginning of “The Hangover 2,” Stu wakes up with a tattoo on his face that’s identical to Mike Tyson’s. The film was almost withheld from theaters when Tyson’s tattoo artist sued Warner Brothers, citing design ownership. But they inked a deal, and the movie (tattoos and all) hit theaters in April 2011.
If you’re thinking about inking, don’t let Tyson’s iconic tattoo inspire you. Tattoo ink is made of a variety of chemicals, almost none of which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for skin injection. In fact, some inks contain pigments used in printer toner and car paint!
We’ve warned you before that getting tattooed (it can be like having sex with everyone who’s used that tattoo artist before, without the fun) puts you at risk for chronic infections like hepatitis C. The inks can also trigger a permanent allergic reaction, cause tumors at the site of the tattoo, and invade lymph nodes.
But now, a study published in Scientific Reports that looked into the lymph nodes of four people who had had tattoos and found that nanoparticles of tattoo-related chemicals had collected there. That’s concerning, because from the lymph nodes, toxic particles of such a small size can infiltrate all sorts of places in your body and inhibit your immune system. We don’t yet know about long-term damage, but the writing’s on the — oh, you know. So if you’re considering a tattoo, take a moment to contemplate what might happen down the road when your body reacts to the toxic ink infiltrating your organs and tissue.
Avoid the fire ant
In the 2015 movie “Ant-Man,” Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) develops an armored suit that can shrink someone to the size of an ant and give that tiny creature superhuman strength. When the technology falls into the wrong hands, the bad guys figure that an army of these ferocious “ants” easily can take over the world.
Well, in many parts of this country, another army of ferocious ants — red imported fire ants — have taken over backyards and fields (did you see the floating masses in Hurricane Harvey’s backwaters?). They’ve been spreading up from the Gulf Coast since they first arrived on a South American cargo ship in the 1930s. These days, they occupy more than 310 million acres of land across the U.S.
You’ll find their mound-like nests (always call professionals for their removal) in sunny, open areas like playgrounds, parks, golf courses and lawns. If you or your child stumbles across one, the ants swarm out and attack. It’s estimated that they sting at least half the population in an affected area each year!
Soothe the sting: A welt from a sting appears within 24 hours and turns into a white pustule. Itching can last for days; corticosteroid ointments and oral antihistamines can help, but don’t break the blister. If you do, clean the area with soap and water to avoid a secondary reaction. Most reactions don’t require a trip to the emergency room. Unfortunately, some people have an allergic response that triggers hives, difficulty breathing and even life-threatening anaphylaxis, which requires a shot of epinephrine.
Let sleeping dogs —
and their masters — lie
President John F. Kennedy’s family had several dogs that cuddled with Caroline and John-John (as well as a beer-swilling rabbit that was a gift from a magician) while they were in Washington. Calvin Coolidge had nine canines lodged in the White House’s family quarters. And the Obamas’ Portuguese water dog, Bo, was allowed to sleep on the bed with the first lady when the president was out of town.
That’s not unusual; many people find comfort from having their pooch sleep on the bed. Unfortunately, a new study of 40 pet-loving adults with no sleeping disorders finds that having your dog up on the mattress may prevent you from getting the restful sleep you need to be sharp the next day.
But, dog owners, take heart; that doesn’t “put Fido in the doghouse.” The study published in Sleep Medicine found that having a dog snoozing in the room, just not on the bed, doesn’t pose any problem.
Ideally, you should be sound asleep for 85 percent of the time you’re in bed. People with a dog in the room are asleep about 83 percent of the time — an insignificant difference. And in truth, many people get far less sleep time than that because of insomnia, interacting with digital devices or aches and pains.
So if you’re not sleeping well, having a dog sleeping nearby may boost your health by improving your snooze time! The other benefits of owning a dog? It reduces blood pressure and protects against heart disease; motivates you to exercise, which promotes weight loss; and lowers stress.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.