Mum's holiday treat leads to pain for daughters

PUBLISHED: 08:56 29 July 2011

(click on image for larger view)  Mark and Tina Nunnington with daughters Freya (8) and Anya (4). The youngsters had black henna tattoos on trip to Morocco - substance is banned across Europe and their legs have blistered.

(click on image for larger view) Mark and Tina Nunnington with daughters Freya (8) and Anya (4). The youngsters had black henna tattoos on trip to Morocco - substance is banned across Europe and their legs have blistered.

Archant

AN ANGRY Weston mum wants to alert parents to a seemingly-innocuous holiday hazard which left her two young daughters scarred and sick.

Tina and Mark Nunnington returned last week from a family holiday in exotic Marakesh in the north African county of Morocco.

But their lasting memory of the trip will be of the harm done to daughters Freya, aged eight, and Anya, who is four.

The two girls marked their final day in the resort by being treated to flowery henna tattoos on their legs.

But unlike in the UK where a harmless natural henna is used, the Moroccans used black henna – a dangerous alternative which is banned across Europe and North America.

The youngsters experienced a painful reaction to the additive-filled substance. Their skin blistered, one was violently sick on the journey home, and both face the risk of health problems in the future.

Permanent scarring, and liver and kidney damage are known effects, while black henna is also proven to be carcinogenic.

Angry Tina, aged 39, said from the family’s Longridge Way home: “We let the girls have the tattoos done because there was nothing else to buy them in the area.

“We’d seen henna before in the UK and it seemed perfectly safe, and it was done at our five-star deluxe hotel, so we thought it must be alright to have done.

“We even asked if it was safe for children and they just said ‘yeah, yeah’.

“But within half an hour our youngest started complaining it was burning.

“We came home the following day, but on the way home one of the girls was really sick, and when I looked at the tattoos again I could see all the skin was welted and blistered.”

Weston General Hospital referred the girls to experts in Bristol, who gave the Nunningtons the choice of admitting the girls, or keeping them under constant observation at home for 48 hours.

This meant Tina and Mark, aged 41, spent the night sleeping in the girls’ bedrooms, and Freya had to be kept home from Mendip Green School, missing her end-of-term graduation.

However, the full impact of the black henna could take time to materialise.

The substance never leaves the bloodstream, and the girls have already been warned they will never be able to dye their hair or use certain antibiotics for risk of a dangerous reaction.

Tina continued: “The dangers far outweigh the niceties of having these designs, so my warning to other parents is: Don’t have it done. Not ever.”

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