Dozens of fish nibbling at one’s feet could make one feel therapeutic but could be dangerous.
According to Daily Mail, experts have warned that fish foot spa pedicures could spread dangerous diseases.
They believe that the beauty craze may not be completely safe and could spread diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
The Health Protection Agency has even warned those with diabetes, psoriasis, or a weak immune system to completely avoid it as they are particularly vulnerable.
Though they said that the risk of infection for users of the increasingly popular treatment is ‘low but could not be completely excluded.’ The guidelines were published way back in 2011.
The government agency of the United Kingdom said that the fish tank water contains micro-organisms. Problems could arise from bacteria being transmitted by the pedicure’s Garra rufa fish, from the water itself, or from one customer to another if the water remains unchanged.
When a user, infected with a blood-borne virus like HIV or hepatitis, bleeds in water, there could be a risk of the disease being passed on.
A spokesman for the agency said that they were forced to issue the guidelines because there had been an increase in the number of such spas.
However, the risk of infection is extremely low if correct hygiene procedures are followed. The recommendation is to change spa water after each client.
The equipment cannot be conventionally sterilized because it could harm approximately 200 fish in every tank.
The pedicures have been popular in Asia where the fad began. It is, however, banned in some states in the U.S. including Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, and Washington, due to fears of the infection spreading through open wounds.
The treatment is meant to leave clients with smooth and attractive feet. It had become quite popular in the UK too.
Terrence Higgins Trust’s spokeswoman said that the risk of picking up infections was minimal but advised people to be careful about the pedicures.