A Hispanic man died after developing sepsis when his fresh tattoo wound became infected from swimming in the sea.
The unidentified 31-year-old ignored advice given to those with new inkings that they should wait for two weeks before venturing into pools or oceans.
Instead, he decided to venture into the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico just five days after obtaining a religious cross on his right calf.
But because his wound was still fresh, it became contaminated with a flesh-eating bacteria that tore chunks out of his skin and ultimately led to his death.
The day after he went swimming, he developed a fever, chills and a red rash close to his tattoo, experts wrote in the BMJ Case Reports.
His condition continued to worsen over the next two days, before he was eventually admitted to hospital, they said.
Doctors were concerned about the patches on his legs which had turned purple – which can be seen in many infections.
Tattoo artists should urge people to wait for at least two weeks before going swimming, but others ask to give the wound a little longer to heal.
Submerging the open sores in water, whether it is from a pool, bath or seawater poses a threat of infection, experts warn.