Treating an infected ear piercing

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Ear piercing is quite common among children and adults. Most new piercings will heal in a few weeks. If the piercing is in the earlobe, it heals quickly. Cartilage piercings take longer to heal because there is less blood flow to the area.

It is normal for a new ear piercing to become irritated. If the wound is not cleaned properly and bacteria enter the wound, it can become infected. If the infection is mild, over-the-counter medications are appropriate. If the infection is more serious, your doctor can help treat it.

Learn more about the problems that can arise from ear piercings and how to prevent and treat them.

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Ear lobe infection

The earlobe is a fleshy area with a lot of blood flow. When the ear is pierced, it takes about six weeks for the ear to heal completely.

It is important to care for your freshly pierced ear according to the instructions of an ear piercing specialist. Slight irritation is normal. The infection can come and go if it is mild. If the area becomes infected, call your doctor. Symptoms of an infection include:

  • Severe redness
  • Bleeding
  • Yellow discharge
  • Earring stuck in your ear

Cartilage infection

Cartilage piercing is a popular option. The cartilage of the ear is at the top of the ear and does not have blood vessels or nerve cells. Because of this, the piercing takes longer to heal. Also, the infection can cause more complex problems in addition to fever, bleeding, and swelling.

When cartilage is infected, perichondritis , an infection of the skin tissue that surrounds the cartilage, is possible. If left untreated, a systemic infection can develop that affects the entire body.

Cartilage infection from ear piercings can become serious. If there are signs of infection in this area, see your doctor right away.

Allergic reaction

Sometimes ear piercings show signs of infection, but this is an allergic reaction. This is a common occurrence for many people. Nickel earrings can cause an allergic reaction.

Ear piercing usually causes a red, dry, scaly rash and intense itching.

In this case, your doctor may prescribe medications to help control the allergic reaction.

Can an old piercing get infected?

Old ear piercings can get infected. It is important to keep it clean. The following situations can lead to an infection of your old piercing:

  • Touching earrings with dirty hands
  • Setting the earring posts at the wrong angle
  • Do not clean the posts and slopes daily.
  • Wearing heavy earrings that can scratch or scratch your ear canal.
  • If there is nickel on the pin or on the back of the earring, it may cause an allergic reaction.

Causes and risk factors

It is important to take special care when handling new piercings. If the bacteria enter a new
piercing, can cause an infection. Other reasons include:

  • Remove earrings before the piercing heals
  • Touching ears with dirty hands
  • Immerse your head in a pool, river, lake, or hot tub until the piercing heals.
  • Forgetting to clean a new piercing twice a day as recommended by a professional.
  • Ear piercing with non-sterile equipment or in an area that has not been properly cleaned or prepared for the ear piercing.

Watch out

If your ear is infected from the earlobe piercing, clean the area around it and take your time brushing and twisting the earring. If the infection does not clear up or worsens, see your doctor. If you have an infected cartilage piercing, see your doctor so they can determine the severity of the infection and treat it.

There are several treatment options available to aid the healing process of an infected ear piercing:

  • If the infection is severe, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.
  • Rinse the infected area with sterile saline.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
  • Place a warm compress on the infected cartilage or earlobe.

When to contact a healthcare provider

If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor:

  • Pain and swelling in the cartilage or earlobe.
  • Yellow discharge or pus from the piercing area
  • Fever or chills
  • The piercing area is red and swollen.
  • An earring or brooch is embedded in the ear or glued to the earlobe.
  • The swelling and redness have spread outside the earring area.

Prophylaxis

Ear piercing infection is not the best experience. Prevention is important. The following tips can help you avoid ear piercing infections:

  • Wash your hands before touching your newly pierced ear, earlobe, or cartilage.
  • Wash your piercing with a mild soap or cleanser twice a day.
  • Twist the earrings after applying the lubricating ointment to the piercing.
  • Do not remove the earrings until the piercing is completely healed.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment or rubbing alcohol to the pierced area twice a day.

Frequently asked questions

How to treat an infected ear piercing without covering it?

There are several ways to treat an infected ear piercing without covering it:

  • Rinse the infected area with sterile saline.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
  • Place a warm compress on the infected cartilage or earlobe.

How do you know if your ear piercing is infected?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor:

  • Pain and swelling in the cartilage or earlobe.
  • Yellow discharge or pus from the piercing area
  • Fever or chills
  • The piercing area is red and swollen.
  • An earring or brooch is inlaid in the ear or attached to the earlobe.
  • The swelling and redness have spread outside the earring area.

How to clean an infected ear piercing?

If your ear is infected from the earlobe piercing, clean the area around it and take your time brushing and twisting the earring. If the infection does not clear up or worsens, see your doctor. If there is an infection in the cartilage area of your piercing, see your doctor so he or she can determine the severity of the infection and treat it.

Should you remove the earring if it is infected?

Talk to your healthcare provider if the earring needs to be removed.

What if an infected ear piercing is not treated?

If the piercing is not treated, the infection can become more serious. If a cartilage infection is not treated, an abscess can develop. This infection can then spread to other parts of the body.

Get the word of drug information

Ear piercings are very common. It is important to follow the instructions during the healing process and to continue to use best practices to prevent infection or other problems. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor.

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