Experts in our community

What they know that you should

Tattoo artist
Kevin Veara, 58
28 years of experience. Owner of Black Moon Tattoos, Springfield.

Don't get a tattoo in the summer. The best time of year for bikinis and pool parties is not so good for tattoo work. Too much direct sunlight is one of the worst things for your healing tattoo. "It's a double-whammy," says Veara, "like getting a sunburn on a sunburn." While your tattoo is healing keep it covered up. Wear clothing when in direct sunlight and avoid pools and beaches. "People don't take care of their tattoos," says Veara. "I've heard of guys getting work done then jumping into a chlorinated pool." Ouch.

Your tattoo artist doesn't care what art you get. Your tattoo might have deep personal meaning to you – but your tattoo artist is just trying to pay their bills with their craft. Tattoo artists have slots to fill and are usually unlikely to turn away people because the design is wonky. "Most people want what they want," says Veara. "Only time I'll step in is if a design is so bad that it will look like I did a bad job. Then I'll modify it."

Tattoos are not just for "scumbags" anymore. There is still a stigma attached to people with tattoos. "Lowlifes or scumbags is the word you used to use," says Veara. "That's not true anymore." Tattoos are becoming more normalized over time with some people using the art as a form of regrouping. "Midlife crisis, divorce or cancer survivor. For many people it's about taking their power back," says Veara. "Doing something for themselves that can't be taken away." It's not as extreme as jumping out of an airplane, but a challenge on a personal level.

Cremation specialist
Brian Bowles, 50
10 years of experience. Springfield.

Cremated remains are not ashes. While cremated remains are commonly referred to as "ashes," in truth they are pulverized bone fragments. "Upon completion of cremation, only bones remain," says Bowles. "Those bones, whether human or pet, are then pulled from the chamber and processed down to their finest form." The cremation process destroys all organic and carbon-based matter and leaves behind an average of 2.4 kg of "cremains" or cremated remains. Once processed, DNA can no longer be obtained.

Pacemakers will explode if they are not removed prior to cremation. Pacemakers must be removed before cremation as they have been compared to a quarter stick of dynamite upon combustion inside a cremation chamber. Crematory specialists are supposed to be told whether a body includes pacemakers but accidents can happen. "We use a metal detecting wand on all bodies regardless prior to cremation care," says Bowles. "We have all death records on hand, but we take no chances. It keeps me on my toes for sure."

Nursing instructor
Barbara Huttman, 64
St. John's College of Nursing, Springfield

Lots of people don't take their medications on a regular basis. Read the prescription bottle information for all new medications you receive. You might remember the doctor saying take the medication daily but he really said twice a day. Smartphones can also be programmed for daily reminders.

Never, ever remove a cast at home with a home saw! It might seem like common sense but there have been lots of injuries. Medical saws used for cutting casts are different than saws for cutting wood. Be safe and return for your medical follow-up care to remove casts.

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