Feeling Sick After Getting a Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: October 12, 2021

If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo for the first time you should make sure that you know what to expect. This is not just the process of the tattoo but also the aftercare and how it will affect you. 

Most people will think that all they have to endure is the pain of the tattoo and then all is good. This is not the case as your body will need to recover and your tattooed skin will need to heal.

Your body experiences slight trauma when having a tattoo and it reacts in different ways to protect itself. You should always remember that when you get a tattoo you are allowing your skin to be penetrated by multiple needles. These needles will enter the skin hundreds, if not thousands of times.

Many people are sick or feel nauseous after getting a tattoo. We’ll let you know if this is normal and why you may feel this way.

How Can Tattoos Make You Feel Sick?

Getting a tattoo is a procedure that causes trauma to your body as the needles penetrate your skin repeatedly. Your body will fight back and this may result in you being sick or feeling nauseous for a time after getting the tattoo.

This is quite normal and you shouldn’t worry. As long as it doesn’t continue after a few days, you will be fine. It’s your body’s way of healing itself.

Is It Normal To Feel Sick After Getting a Tattoo?

Before you get your first tattoo you should think hard about what this actually entails. You need to think about the actual tattoo, the design and the tattoo artist to go to. You then need to think about where to have the tattoo and if you can handle the pain of the procedure. 

You may then think that’s it, but no, following the actual tattoo procedure, there are other things that you need to think of. Aftercare is an important factor in getting a tattoo as this will give you the final result of your tattoo. 

There is also the way that you will feel following the tattoo procedure. The tattoo process causes trauma to your body along with stress on your body and your brain. Your immune system will start to fight back. This is sometimes called “tattoo flu” as you may feel sick. This is normal, especially with your first tattoo as your body is in shock and is trying to heal itself.

How Long Will It Last?

The sickness may last a few days as your body heals. You may find that you feel worse the day after your tattoo, but don’t let this put you off. 

The symptoms may be worse depending on the size of the tattoo, the placement on your body, and how long the process took. 

What Can You Do To Feel Better?

You are able to take normal cold and flu medication for the “tattoo flu”, however, we would recommend that you just ride it out, knowing that you will be fine in a few days.

Just take it easy and look after yourself and your new tattoo. If the feeling persists longer than a few days or if you have any other symptoms, you should go and see your doctor. They will be able to advise further in this situation.

Tips For Next Time

As your body gets used to the tattoo procedure you shouldn’t be affected as badly and shouldn’t get sick. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you’re in top form for the next time. 

You should make sure that you have a good night’s sleep, eat well and drink lots of fluids before having a tattoo. This will reduce the chance of you feeling faint during or after the process. 

You should also look after your skin, especially in the area where you are getting the tattoo, and avoid any exposure to the sun. This will make sure that your skin is in the best condition for the tattoo. 

Nobody should ever go for a tattoo while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This will increase the chances of pain and feeling unwell and may also thin your blood. The tattoo artist may refuse to do the tattoo if they think that you have taken drugs or medication, or have consumed alcohol.


It’s normal to feel sick or feverish after getting a tattoo and you shouldn’t let this put you off having it done. However, you should be aware that this can happen so that you’re prepared.

The feeling won’t last too long and you will be left with a stunning new tattoo to show off.

We hope that this answered your question and you are now ready to get your tattoo completed.

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