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Henna tattoo leaves its mark

Reporter: Gillian Potts
Date online: 02 September 2014

A CONCERNED mum has issued a warning after a holiday henna tattoo put her son in a hospital burns unit.

Three-year-old Ellis Burke’s arm reacted to a black henna Spiderman tattoo almost immediately while on holiday in Spain’s Marbella.

Back in Oldham days later he struggled to breathe, had a high temperature and started vomiting, and his worried parents called an ambulance.

He was taken to hospital and later discharged, but next day was no better. Oldham’s Integrated Care Centre diagnosed severe toxic shock and sent him urgently to the children’s burns unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where Ellis spent the night while they stabilised his condition.

His mum Shabana Murray of Middleton Road, Chadderton, says the episode was a “terrible ordeal” for her son - and she warned against having the black henna tattoo, which contains the chemical compound para-phenylenediamine and sometimes even petrol.

"As soon as he had it done it started to react,” said Shabana. “We washed his arm in the sea but it made no difference.”

"Next day it started to blister; we bought some anti-allergy medication but it just got worse.

"We went to A&E where they just prescribed antibiotics and more anti-allergy medicine. A few days later he just suddenly went downhill and woke up struggling to breathe and vomiting.” Ellis’s temperature was 39.4C when the ambulance arrived.

"It was only at the walk-in centre they finally diagnosed toxic shock and sent him to Manchester Royal, where they said they had never seen such a bad reaction.”

Shabana, whose family has been to the resort several times, says she couldn’t have imagined something so dangerous could have been the result of a temporary tattoo.

"My eldest son has had it done several times at the same place by the same guy,” she said. "In fact Ellis had one the week before and was fine.

"I knew nothing about this chemical until I came back and read about it. As far as I’m aware, its use in henna tattoos is banned here.”


Shame on the parents for letting a 3 year old have a tattoo.

Awful story hope the little man gets well quickly.

Yet another misdiagnosis/poorly attended to incident from the Royal Oldham Hospital. No wonder so many Chronicle inches are given over to complaints about this establishment.

The parents should have had more sense than give a three year old any form of tattoo the mind boggles it really does.

And as for washing it in the sea???

oh my god.
anyone will tell you that before you have a henna tattoo you should do a test to make sure your not allergic.

to many people think they can just have one done.

Why would you let a 3 years old have a henna tattoo, unless this is a mistake and it should be 13 years old !!!!

I blame the parents. If you're going to give a 3 year old a tattoo, and henna is semi-permanent, you're a disgrace. Get a water-based one out of a bubble gum at that age. Ridiculous.

Oh, how judgemental we all are. The lad's mum did absolutely nothing wrong (underline that several times). She wasn't to know that her son would experience such a dramatic reaction to the henna tattoo. Do us all a favour and keep your nasty comments firmly in check.

It beggars belief that any parent would have their young child have a henna tattoo - what were they thinking of? I hope that the boy recovers quickly but the parents have questions to answer ....

The usual sanctimonious, judgmental comments ! do these people scour the press looking for stories to comment on ?

Lets hope the young lad recovers soon eh!

Please some of you need to get a life! Eleven years ago my eldest son then of 7 had one of these tattoo's along with his younger brother and lots of children in the hotel,My eldest had the same reaction so i assume i am a bad Mum (NOT). Some children have reactions to all kinds of things (such as face paintings and stick on Tatto's etc), how dare people judge parenting skills for letting children be children.

Wow so many negative comments, thank you for the positive ones.....you are all entitled to your own bitter opinions, but just remember they are opinions not facts.
My son had a henna tatoo and had a reaction to it.
I wanted to spread awareness as i didnt want any other parents or children to go through what ellis and ourselves have the past week, if only you knew.....
Although some of you are saying you knew unfortunatley we didnt, my eldest son has them every year no problem.


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