When Should I See A Doctor For An Infected Piercing
If you think you may have an infection, especially if it’s a cartilage piercing, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid complications and get started on antibiotics, says Shannahan. Don’t wait to see if an infected piercing will heal on its own, especially if you already see it worsening.
A doctor may recommend topical antibiotics such as Neosporin, or oral antibiotics, depending on infection severity. Infections can occur near the piercing site, but it can also affect the whole body, so medical attention is critical.
“If an infected piercing isn’t treated, it can lead to issues at the site like abscesses , scarring, or deformities. More commonly in body piercings than ear piercings, there can also be conditions that affect the entire body like blood or heart infections,” says Shannahan.
Dealing With Infected Piercings
The first approach in preventing infection is to get your ear pierced by a specialist instead of at home.
Needles are preferable to piercing guns for non-earlobe piercings. Both piercing techniques require the same level of cleanliness, and the aftercare measures are just the same.
Its critical to properly follow the piercers aftercare guidelines. Clean your ears twice per day with sterile saline water or the piercers rinse.
Stop playing with or handling the earring extensively. When changing clothes, make sure it doesnt get trapped in your clothes.
To prevent crushing the ear as it heals, you may have to sleep on one side.
What Are The Symptoms Of Infected Ear Piercings
Some pain and redness are part of the normal healing process for pierced ears. It can be easy to confuse those with signs of infection. Symptoms that may indicate an infection include:
- Discharge coming out of the piercing.
- Redness, warmth or swelling around the piercing.
- Tenderness in the pierced earlobe or cartilage.
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Causes Of Pierced Ear Infection
Some common causes of pierced ear infection include:
- Unsterile instruments used for getting ears pierced.
Since piercing ears is basically produce a purposely-made wound, it is very important to do this with cautions and thoroughly-cleaned instruments. Instruments meant to be used for piercing the ears should be soaked in anti-bacterial solution or boiled in order to kill all possible germs, which can be transmitted into the wound site.
- Frequent touching on newly-pierced ear which has not healed completely with dirty hands.
When done pierced, the piercing site is still a wound until it completely heals. Hence, it exposes all internal tissues and can be easily get infected by any harmful bacteria residing on your skin. It is highly advisable that someone should not touch a newly-pierced earlobe with unwashed hands and not to be tempted on scratching it if itching occurs.
- Ill-fitting earrings, which rub unhealed pierced earlobes.
Too tight earrings do not only give the earlobe unnecessary rubs, but also inhibit sufficient supply of blood passing through the site, so that the healing process is delayed and makes the newly-pierced ear prone to infection.
- Putting on and removing earrings too frequently, which scratch the surrounding tissues of the piercing site.
- Wearing too dangling earrings, which give too much weight on the piercing, resulting in worse wounded site.
- Dirty earrings, which promote transmitted bacteria.
When To See An Ent Specialist For An Ear Infection
Make an appointment with an ENT specialist. As mentioned, a minor infection of an ear piercing can be treated at home successfully. However, if the following symptoms below develop, be sure to get medical assistance. A fever develops. Beyond the piercing site, the infection, or redness and inflammation, spreads. If within 2 days the infection doesnt improve with home treatment. The earring is immovable. The earring clasp is embedded in your skin.Remember, with proper care and cleaning, you can reduce the risk of ear piercing infections. In the event you experience an extreme case of infection, for assistance.
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How Do Ear Piercings Even Get Infected
Anyone can get an infected ear piercing, but it usually happens due to one of two major reasons. Either your piercing site wasnt adequately sterilized before you were pierced, or you kinda-sorta-definitely didnt take great care of it after you were pierced, explains Kenneth A. Kaplan, MD, an otolaryngologist with ENT and Allergy Associates in New Jersey.
Touching your piercing a lot, while it’s still a new, open wound, can also expose it to bacteria that can cause an infection.
Can You Sleep With Earrings In
The general rule of thumb is to avoid sleeping in earrings, with one exception: when you get a new piercing. But if your piercings are older, avoid wearing earrings made with nickel overnight, as well as large hoops and dangle or drop-style earrings. These could increase your risk of painful side effects.
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Causes Of Infections In Newly Pierced Ear
- Piercing the ears with tools or earring posts that aren’t clean
- Not cleaning the earlobes daily
- Taking the earring out before the channel is healed
- Touching earrings with dirty hands
- Earring backs that are too tight against the earlobe. Reason: pressure from tight earrings reduces blood flow to the earlobe.
- Posts that have nickel in them can also cause an itchy, allergic reaction
Slowly Twist The Earring Through:
On finding the piercing hole, try to twist the earring to make it go through the partially opened hole. Stop and slowly insert the earring from different angle if youre feeling pain as you may hit the wrong skin part. Stop it at once if you start feeling more pain. Its better if you seek professional piercers services if you cant fit the earring in.
If you hit the right hole, your earring will slide easily through the hole. Wear your jewelry for a long time to avoid the blocking of the hole again.
So, these are the tips to open up your partially closed ear piercing hole. Please consult a professional piercer if youre not comfortable or enough confident with that.
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Salt Or Chamomile Soaks
A salt or chamomile soak serves a dual purpose. For one, it relieves the swelling, redness, and pain. Secondly, it helps to clean the infected piercing. A salt soak is generally more effective, but chamomile is better for sensitive skin. You can do as many chamomile soaks per day as desired, but only 2 salt soaks are recommended per day.
How to make a soak:
- Boil 1 cup of water
- Add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and stir until dissolved OR brew 1 chamomile tea bag
- Perform a salt soak by dipping a cotton pad into the solution and appling to the infection for 2 minutes
- For a chamomile soak, dip a cotton pad into the solution, or use the tea bag, and apply to the infection until it cools.
For both, you want to use hot water, but let it cool down enough that you wont hurt or damage your skin before dipping the cotton pad.
Earring Choices And Wearing Patterns
Your earring choices might be to blame if your pierced ears are sore. For example, you may experience a pinching sensation if the post is too short for your ear thickness. Screwing the back on too tightly with threaded-post earrings can cause similar discomfort.
Heavy earrings might look great but can pull on your ears and cause discomfort. Large earrings that accidentally catch on your clothing or hair can cause tearing of your piercing with associated soreness until the injury heals.
If you haven’t worn earrings in for a while, you may find that even well-established, fully-healed piercings can be a bit sore when you put earrings in. This commonly occurs due to slight shrinkage of the holes during the time when you weren’t wearing earrings. Never force an earring into a piercing if it doesn’t slide in easily.
- Your earring choices might be to blame if your pierced ears are sore.
- If you haven’t worn earrings in for a while, you may find that even well-established, fully-healed piercings can be a bit sore when you put earrings in.
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What Ear Piercings Are Most Likely To Become Infected
There are so many options for spots on your ear you can pierce and, TBH, you can get an infection anywhere. That said, some spots are riskier than others. Piercings that go through ear cartilage are much more likely to become infected and are more difficult to treat than infections through the ear lobe or the soft tissues just above the lobe, Dr. Kaplan says.
Dr. Mankarious agrees. “Piercing infections are most likely to occur in areas where the blood supply is low and cartilage is notorious for a low blood supply,” she explains. “Cartilage infections can be particularly dangerous just for that reason.” In other words, it’s difficult for antibodies and antibiotics to reach the infection site when it’s in your cartilage, giving the infection the opportunity to take over.
Questions To Prepare For Appointment
You can help your health professional diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
- Who did the body piercing?
- When was the piercing done?
- Where on the body was the body piercing done?
- What are your main symptoms? When did your symptoms start?
- Were sterile instruments and jewelry used?
- What type of jewelry was inserted? What was the jewelry made of?
- Do you have other body piercings? If so, did these piercings cause problems?
- What home treatment measures have you used to clean or treat the piercing site? Be sure to include any nonprescription ointments or creams you have applied to the wound.
- What prescription and nonprescription medicines do you take?
- Do you have any health risks?
Ear Piercing Can Lead To Disfiguring Infection
Case in point: An outbreak of serious ear infections related to commercial ear piercing in Oregon affected 25 people out of 118 who received piercings. Seven people ages 10- to 19 years old had confirmed infections, and 18 had suspected infections all from the same jewelry kiosk. Some had to be hospitalized and some ended up with ear deformities.
All of the confirmed infections, outlined in a report in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association, involved the cartilage of the upper ear. The report adds the risk of getting disfiguring ear infections is almost four times greater if the upper ear cartilage is pierced rather than the lower ear lobe.
The culprit? Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common bacterium found in soil, on plants, in your shower, even on your hands, but which in certain situations, has the potential to cause serious infections.
Ironically, in the Oregon case, it was a disinfectant bottle that became infected with bacteria. The bottle was then continually refilled and used to spray equipment and skin before piercing. In addition, an open, spring-loaded piercing gun approved for earlobes but not cartilage piercing, was used.
Cartilage Piercing Riskier
Central to the problem is the location of the piercing on the ear.
Brandy Murray, 16, was affected in the Oregon outbreak two years ago, and knows only too well the risks of cartilage piercing.
Other Risks And How to Reduce Them
Bacterial infection may not be the only medical consequence of piercing.
What Is An Infected Ear Piercing
An ear piercing is a hole through your earlobe or the cartilage in your middle or upper ear. An infected ear piercing may be red, swollen, sore, warm, itchy or tender. Sometimes the piercing oozes blood or white, yellow or greenish pus.
A new piercing is an open wound that can take several weeks to fully heal. During that time, any bacteria that enter the wound can lead to infection.
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How Can I Prevent A Pierced Ear Infection
Taking good care of your piercings is key to preventing infection. You should:
- Leave your earrings in day and night until the piercings fully heal.
- Wash your hands before touching your earlobes or cartilage.
- Wash the piercing twice daily with a mild soap or cleanser.
- Apply rubbing alcohol and/or antibiotic ointment to the area twice daily.
- Gently rotate the earrings daily after applying antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to lubricate the piercing.
Anyone Have Experience With An Earring Hole That Constantly Gets Infected
proud_canadian said:Nah, she’s a squirmer and sleeps in all kinds of positions! Do you think taking the earrings out at night may give her ears a break though? She is terrified to even take them out when she plays soccer as she is worried they will fill in.
Last chance to lose your keys.
WDW Bride Dec 6, 1996
FairestOfThemAll37 said:I keep seeing people mention “good quality” earrings, but even 18/24k gold earrings have nickel in them, which is a common irritant.Try getting her a pair made from surgical steel and see if that makes a difference.Good luck!
I’d think if it were an allergy issue, you’d see problems in both ears.OP describes the problem as in one ear.
Not necessarily. I tend to have one ear much more affected than the other. It starts with itching then redness/soreness and then into full blown nastiness.They can also become more sensitive over time and not necessarily in tandem.
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Always Wash Your Hands Before Touching Or Treating Your Piercing
Minor infections can often be treated at home, but it’s important to make sure you are doing so with clean hands. “Make sure you do not have a fever or swollen lymph nodes, which suggests you should seek a doctor for further evaluation,” notes Chang. “Avoid excessively touching or manipulating the infected site as this can worsen the irritation and inflammation. If touching the area, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly beforehand.” Soap and water, please!
If you don’t think the jewelry is the cause, then the source of the infection is probably bacterial. The way to fix that is to kill and/or clear the bacteria. Try cleaning the area twice a day and doing sea salt soaks twice a day basically treating it like a brand new piercing. The heat and the salt are both claimed to help draw out pus and other fluids that may contain bacteria. Hopefully, following that regimen for a few days will clear up an infection in its early stages. You can do this with a q-tip and sterile saline or saltwater . Remember to clean both the front and back of the earlobe.
“Avoid alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the affected area, as these can further irritate the skin and slow down the healing process,” says Chang.
Why Are My Pierced Ears Sore
Soreness, irritation and discomfort can occur with newly pierced ears or established ear piercings. Infection is the most serious concern, but there are other possible causes.
Possible noninfectious causes include a reaction to ear jewelry, traumatic injury and excess weight on your ears. See your doctor to determine the cause of your ear soreness, as early diagnosis and treatment are important if an infection occurs.
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Caring For Pierced Ears
How to care for pierced ears
Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely. For anyone thinking about getting their ears pierced, dermatologists urge people to follow these steps to avoid infection.
Although ear piercings are more common and can be less risky than other body piercings, they can still cause complications if not handled safely. For anyone thinking about getting their ears pierced, dermatologists urge people to follow these steps to avoid infection:
Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced ears.
Leave the earrings in your ears for six weeks or more, even at night. Removing the starter earrings too early may cause the piercings to close.
Regularly wash your ears with soap and water. Carefully do this at least once a day to avoid infection.
Twist the earrings a few times daily. This will help keep the pierced holes open.
Put rubbing alcohol on your ears. Using a cotton ball or pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, gently clean the skin around the piercings twice a day to keep away germs and prevent scabbing. You may also apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly around the opening.
After piercing your ears, keep an eye on them to make sure they dont get sore, red or puffy and that the holes dont ooze yellowish liquid. If any of this occurs and doesnt go away quickly, see a board-certified dermatologist, as you may have an infection.
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What Causes Infected Ear Piercings
If bacteria gets into a new piercing, it can lead to infection. You may expose your new piercing to harmful bacteria by:
- Getting your ears pierced in an unhygienic environment or with unsterilized equipment.
- Touching your ears with dirty hands.
- Removing your earrings before the piercing heals.
- Neglecting to clean your new piercings daily.
- Swimming or submerging your head in a pool, hot tub, lake or river before your piercings fully heal.
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