Infected Ear Piercing—How To Prevent And Treat The Infection!
Infected ear piercing is not generally something you should be concerned about unless the symptoms start getting worse. When you get any part of your body pierced at some kiosk in a mall or a tattoo parlor, you should always keep your ears open for instructions they provide to assure that you do not get an infected ear piercing.
The vendor must likewise assure you that they practice hygiene when piercing and use sterile tools to do so. But if they do not follow the right protocol of safety and hygiene or you end up neglecting the instructions provided by the vendors, you are at higher risk of infections.
Minor ear piercing infections can be treated at home itself easily without further complications. But when it comes to severe infections, you must visit a doctor. If you have an infected ear piercing, do not panic. Here are all the things you should know.
How Do You Get An Infected Ear Piercing?
In general, a piercing is similar to open wounds. It is quite easy to understand. When you get your earlobe pierced, it will usually require 6-8 weeks to completely heal. If you get a cartilage piercing done (which is the harder portion of your earlobe), it takes longer to heal as it is harder and more prone to getting infected. There are several ways you may get an infected ear piercing.
When the bacteria are left on the site of the piercing to fester, this will inadvertently turn into an infection. If you constantly touch the piercing with any non-sterile instrument or dirty hands, you are more likely to introduce infection.
If the earrings put by the vendor on the site of the piercing are too tight, it will certainly not permit room for the wound to heal and breathe, thus growing the infection. A piercing might also get infected if the post of your piercing is rough or there is excessive handling of it.
Note that neglecting to clean the piercing and swimming or submerging your ears in a hot tub, pool, or any lake before the infected ear piercing completely heals can be dangerous.
An infection may occur if unsterile tools were implemented for piercing or the person performing it did not wear any gloves. If you have already suffered an infected ear piercing, you must learn how to identify one to prevent the spreading of infection.
How to Identify the Infection
It is quite easy to notice or identify an infected ear piercing because it causes discomfort and pain. Some symptoms you can visibly identify include:
- Burning sensation or itching on the wound.
- Tenderness or longing pain.
- Yellow-colored discharge that appears similar to pus.
An infected ear piercing can be treated at home if the infection has not spread much or is just minor.
Treating An Infected Ear Piercing At Home
As long as the infection has not spread much or is minor, you can take care of it with some home remedies. If you have opted for cartilage piercings and you notice signs of infection, seek help from your doctor as it will take longer to heal.
These kinds of infections are harder to operate on and need antibiotics taken orally for relief. Significant infections of your cartilages may even need hospitalization, so take proper care.
If the infected ear piercing is minor, you can follow these steps to take care f it:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning or even touching the piercing.
- Clean nicely and gently around the piercing using a saltwater rinse nearly 3 times per day. You may use sterile saline too which is readily available online and over the counter. If using the salt water rinse, combine 1/4th tsp salt along with 8 oz distilled water.
- Make sure you avoid using antibiotic gels or ointments, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide-like ingredients. These will further irritate the infected skin and slow down the healing process.
- Do not remove the piercing as this might cause the hole to close again and trap the infection within it.
- Clean the infected piercing on both sides of the earlobe. Pat-dry the area with clean paper towels as other materials like cloth or normal towels will leave fibers behind.
You may also apply a warm compress to the infected ear pricing in the cartilage or earlobes. If prescribed by the doctors, take antibiotics orally to get rid of the bacteria causing infections. Here’s how to apply an ointment if needed:
Applying Antibiotic Ointments
- After cleaning or rinsing, use an antibiotic cream such as Polysporin to your earring post and the earlobe-piercing hole. Know that no prescription is required for this. You may also use any antibiotic gel you already have at your house.
- Then wear the earring back on.
- Keep repeating this until the drainage and redness on the earlobes are gone fully for 2 days or so.
Once the infection seems to have cleared significantly, you will still have to carry out the steps twice per day to make sure the infection does not recur and it heals completely. Know that an earlobe piercing might even take 6-8 weeks to recover. Taking care of it every day is a MUST during this time.
Age For Piercing Ears
Infection in the piercing differs based on your age as well. You must know the right age to get your earlobes pierced or get your child’s earlobes pierced to avoid critical issues.
- Parents frequently question what a normal age is to get an ear piercing done. It is most suitable to wait until your child can play an actual role and know what has been done to the ears. Most frequently, this is after they turn 8.
- Kids below the age of 4 years might constantly touch their earrings a lot. Playing with these earrings with their dirty hands may give rise to infections.
- Younger kids might also remove the earrings and insert them into their mouth. This may give rise to swallowing the earrings or choking on them, causing greater complications.
When to Visit a Doctor
When the infected ear piercing does not cause a lot of pain and infections seem minor, you can successfully treat it at home by maintaining proper hygiene. But, in case the symptoms get worse or any of the symptoms given below occurs, you must visit your healthcare provider to avoid critical issues.
- The earring you wore does not move at all.
- The clasp of the earring becomes implanted within the skin of your earlobes.
- The infection is not improving at all even after using home treatment correctly for days on end.
- You catch a fever.
- There is redness, inflammation, and pain in the infection that spreads past the site of the piercing.
What to Ask Your Healthcare Provider?
When you visit your healthcare provider regarding an infected ear piercing, you may want to ask them the following queries:
- How will I determine if the infection has completely cleared or not?
- When can I remove these earrings and wear something I want?
- Is it necessary to clean these earrings in the process?
- Can the infection recur even after my piercing has completely healed once?
How to Prevent an Infection
To prevent an infected ear piercing, have your ears pierced by a well-known professional or someone who is an expert in the field. Do not try to achieve a piercing at home with no guidance.
Make sure you query the expert about prevention protocol for infections and ensure that all the tools used are sterile. Make sure the earrings they are going to provide are coming from a sterile and new package.
Once you have got the piercings done, clean the ears twice using sterile saline or rinse provided by the practitioner. Do not use any outside jewelry as this might create infections and trauma to the earlobe skin. Clean the piercing without taking out the earring worn.
Although it is quite tempting to touch the earring and move it while handling it, completely avoid doing so as this is one of the most common ways of igniting an infection. Once or twice a day you can rotate it a bit to check it hasn’t embedded within the skin.
Getting the piercings done will involve a few seconds of pain in exchange for the lifetime joy of dressing your earlobes with your favorite jewelry. If you get an infected ear piercing, treating it gently and promptly will ensure it heals faster with no complications.
Preventing an Infection Once the Earlobes Have Healed
If your earlobe has healed after 6 weeks of having undergone the piercing, here’s what you need to follow to ensure that the infection does not return or recur:
- Suggest your child to avoid touching the earrings until it’s needed, the reasoning behind this being that their fingers can be dirty and contaminate the area.
- Wash your hands before putting the earrings on or while taking them out.
- At bedtime, make sure to take out the earrings. This is done so that the piercing channel is exposed to air so that it breathes at night.
- Clean your earrings, backs, posts, and earlobes using rubbing alcohol now. Do this ere putting your earrings on.
- Implement the backs lightly and loosely to avoid unnecessary pressure on your earlobes. This is done to allows your ear channel to receive a healthy blood supply.
- Polish and discard any posts that have rough spots.
- Avoid wearing heavy earrings in the beginning, it may provoke or trigger an infection again causing redness and inflammation.
If you have another pair of earrings and wish to wear them, make sure they are lighter and completely clean to avoid infection. Here are some ways to clean your earrings.
These were all the important symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevention tips to know about infected ear piercing.