Body piercing is the recent trend and along with that, a new trend notifies a new awareness of how to treat or prevent infected piercings. No one would want infected ear piercing, much fewer an infected nose or lip piercing. With the increase in popularity of piercings, what is more important is self-care. Once taboo, septum piercings, belly jewels and tongue rings are considered are standard means of self expression. As per the report, almost one in four have a piercing in places other than earlobe. Even women who stick to traditional look get multiple piercings on their ears.
As most of you like to have some kind of jewel or metal to adorn our bodies, you must ensure being aware of what to do in times of emergency. Nothing more fabulous than an itchy, red, open wound around the supposedly wonderful cartilage piercing is there. Infections tend to be such show-stoppers.
When you have your ears or other body parts pierced, whether by a kiosk in the mall or by a tattoo parlor, you must receive instructions about the proper techniques to prevent infection. You must also get assurance that hygiene practices and only sterile tools are used. But, when the protocols are not followed, or when you don’t comply with the post-piercing instructions properly enough, you are sure to get infection. Fortunately, it is usually possible to treat ear piercing infection quite easily and also without any complication.
How infections take place?
A piercing is normally an open wound for long as it heals. This typically takes six to eight weeks. During the course of this time, there are different ways by which are you are likely to get your ear piercing infected.
Any bacteria made to fester can become an infection quickly. When you touch your piercing region with dirty hands, you can get infection. Also, if the earrings are fixed too tightly, not allowing space for the injury to breathe and cure, an infection can further develop. A piercing can also become infection when the post is rough or causes irritation otherwise. At last, when unsterile instruments were utilized, if the person performing your piercing did not wear gloves, or when the posts were not sterile themselves, an infection can result.
The infections are also caused by fungi, yeast and other pathogenic microorganisms resulting from personal hygiene and poor piercing. The use of wrong jewelry may also result in allergic reactions. Injuries, trauma are also the possible causes of piercing infection.
How an infected piercing on ear looks like?
Identifying infected ear piercing is quite simple. The symptoms that may result if piercing goes wrong include,
- Burning and itching
- Tenderness or ongoing pain
- Yellow and pus-like discharge
Discharge from the piercing location
The more common symptom you would experience is discharge from the site of piercing. You might have greenish or yellowish discharge that might smell. This pus-like discharge is caused by bacterial infection at the piercing site. If you don’t clean your piercing in a regular manner, you would even end up with scabbing. Scabbing and crusting will normally block the healing process of infection. Make sure that you clean the piercing properly by removing any sort of debris that could build up.
Burning sensation from allergic
The other common symptom that you will experience is allergic reaction. This is characterized by burning sensation and gaping skin. Sometimes, you would have clear yellow discharges from the piercing place caused due to allergic reaction. To handle allergic reaction, check your jewelry material before use and make sure it is not causing the symptoms. In addition, make sure the piercing is not too loose or too tight since this could be the potential cause of irritation same as that of allergic reaction. Ultimately, allergic reactions can occur as a result of various body care products that you use.
Tenderness, redness and swelling
Redness, bruising and swelling are other common signs you might get in case of infected piercing. It is typical to have some sort of tenderness and swollen at the place immediately and for first few days after new piercing.
How to prevent infection?
Ensure that you get your ears pierced in a professional way. Do not get it done at home. Wherever you head to, check about the infection prevention protocol. Furthermore, ensure checking with the piercer whether their tools are sterile and go ahead to see if the posts they use is from a new sterile and new package.
After getting your piercing, clean your ears in a regular manner using the solution offered or using an antiseptic. Also, turn the post twice a day for three times to encourage healing and to prevent sticking. Having your ears pierced must a few moments of painful time in return for the possibility to adorn your earlobes. If an infection takes place, treating it in a prompt manner assures quicker healing with less complications.
The moment you find any of the symptoms that shows your piercing could have got an infection, you must make sure you start treating it. Go through the following techniques to cure your infection,
- Salt oak or saline solution- Most health care professionals and piercers recommend the use of saline solution for cleaning the new piercing.
- Cold or warm compresses- Warm compresses can work out well to treat an infected piercing quickly as it encourages more flow of blood to the pierced area.
- Antibiotic creams, ointments and gels- The better way to treat an infected piercing is the use of ointments, creams and gels. You can get prescription for antibiotics in case if your piercing infection becomes serious and your doctor has found that the cause of infection is due to bacteria
Techniques to clean infected piercing
Apart from the infected piercing treatments, you must make sure to clean the infected piercing area to avoid re-infection or spreading the infection. The highly recommended products to be used for cleaning the piercing spot are either sea salt solution or piercing solution. So, how you are going to clean infected piercing area? Check below,
- Wash your hands using an antibacterial soap and scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds to avoid pathogens, particularly bacteria. This will make sure that you don’t contact germs to your infection when you cleaning it.
- Dip cotton swabs, sterile gauze or q-tip in your cleaning solution and start cleaning the area gently around the piercing site. If there is any debris formed out of discharges, they would want more time to get soaked, become soften and easily come off.
- Try cleaning as closer to the piercing area as possible making sure any debris or dirt is removed completely.
- Rotate your piercing for about four times after you are through the piercing. When you rotate, you must be gentle to make sure you don’t get hurt as this could cause bleeding.
- Rinse the piercing area using distilled warm water before drying it with paper towel. Do not use hand towels or washcloths as they could be harboring germs.
Normally, the cleaning process would take about three to five minutes. You can replicate the process twice or even three times in a day. Cleaning your piercing using an antibacterial soaps and more amount of running water is also suggested.
Tips to care for infected piercing
If your piercing is infected, it is not only treatment and cleaning that is needed. The general care provided will ensure healing faster and restrict any possibilities of re-infection. Some of the significant infected piercing care tips are,
- Don’t try to remove your piercing body jewelry from your infected piercing. Removing the piercing jewelry would lead to closing of wound and also abscess formation. You should remove only if recommended by doctor.
- Ensure hair, clothing or other thing does not come in contact with your piercing site frequently as it could introduce germs. You may use bandage to make certain nothing touches your wound and try wearing only lose clothing.
- Get rid of strongly scented soaps and moisturizers as they further irritate the piercing.
- Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol as they can result in dryness and scabbing that might cause piercing scars.
- Avoid fiddling, touching or playing with your piercing
- Avoid using inexpensive jewelry like nickel. Rather go for gold or titanium jewelry.
Other than the tips mentioned above for caring infected piercing, you also make it sure following the instructions that you were given if you get a new piercing that is yet to heal completely.
When you must visit a doctor?
Normally, an infected piercing can be successfully treated at home. However, when you experience any of the following signs, immediately seek the advice of health practitioner,
- You are not able to remove your piercing jewelry or the clasp gets embedded with the skin.
- Home treatment does not work out with the infection
- Fever develops
- The inflammation, redness and infection, spreads much beyond the piercing area.