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Over the past few years, the number of med spas offering a range of services, most notably IV therapy, has ballooned.  Unfortunately, whilst welcomed by consumers looking for an energy boost or glowing skin, the reality is that many of these spaces are unregulated. This has created a rise in severe infections and other adverse health outcomes.

FDA Warns Of Dangers of Unregulated Med Spas 

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out a warning following reports that consumers had developed severe infections and skin deformities after they had received unauthorized fat-dissolving shots from various med spas across the country.

“Some consumers received the injections at clinics or med spas by personnel who might not have been properly licensed to give the injections,” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  

If that’s not enough, some of these med spas and IV clinics are also inappropriately mixing products, raising the risk of infection. 

In 2021, the FDA shared the news of a 50-year-old female patient who had been hospitalized and treated for suspected septic shock and multi-organ failure after receiving an at-home IV vitamin infusion. According to the report, the woman’s blood cultures showed Pseudomonas fluorescens – a gram-negative bacterium found in soil and water.

The infusion was mixed by a medical clinic and upon investigation, led by the FDA and in collaboration with many state regulators, they found that the clinic had several deficiencies involving unsanitary conditions. 

Poor regulations are a health risk

Speaking to NBC News, Alex Thiersch, the chief executive of the American Med Spa Association, revealed that there are no federal health regulations or standard operating procedures for med spas. 

Thiersch added that some states are lacking in both the resources and time to be able to properly regulate med spas, which then raises the importance of having such spaces be solely run by medical professionals,

“I think it would only be fair for anyone who would want to open a business like an IV bar and the like to have a medical qualification” explains Nozipho Mahlangu, a professional nurse and CEO of KOZEE Health & Aesthetics

To help mitigate this, the American Med Spa Association is working to provide legal and business guides to help med spa owners ensure that they are compliant with industry and state regulations.

What can I do?

With reports of infections and health risks, individuals who are seeking IV therapy at med spas should do their due diligence.

To better protect your risk in these instances, Mahlangu advises that you verify that the people administering the services are health care professionals. Additionally, you should ensure that whoever is administering the drips is always wearing gloves and shoes and that you know exactly what they’re putting into the vacolitre.

It’s also vital to carefully inspect the facility, and ensure its cleanliness. Make note of any unsanitary conditions, and keep an eye out for the staff – they should be regularly washing their hands and wearing medical gloves.

Bottom line

The med spa business is here to stay, with its value being estimated at $15 billion, but consumer demand does not have to outweigh consumer health. As such, it’s important to call on health regulatory bodies to do their part in ensuring that patients aren’t injected, and subsequently infected, with compounds compromising their longevity. 

MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by cottonbro studio/PEXELS
Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a journalist graduate and writer, specializing in health, beauty, and wellness. She also has a passion for poetry, equality, and natural hair. Identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to provide the latest information on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle and leave a more equitable society behind.

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