HEALTH ALERT – FAKE TONGUE PIERCINGS
Public Health England (PHE) has been notified of incidents involving teenagers in Nottinghamshire who have recently presented in hospital with abdominal complications following the ingestion of fake tongue piercings.
This fashion statement consists of two strong magnetic ball bearings – one placed on each side (top and underside) of the tongue. The attraction between the two magnetic balls holds them in place giving the impression of a real piercing. These products are easily available online.
The balls are probably small enough not to cause a real choking hazard if swallowed (even together), and their dimensions will mean they should pass through the gut without issue, but if swallowed at separate times (whilst both are still in the system), then the strength of attraction and associated movement between them can cause physical damage to the bowel resulting in the need for surgery.
We are asking that agencies raise awareness amongst young people and parents and warn of the dangers.
If you require further information, please contact Public Health England on 0344 225 4524.