Whether you’ve opted for your earlobe or the cartilage, pierced ears can sometimes fall to infection and it’s important to know the basics of treating any problems with your piercings. Most infections appear soon after you get your ear pierced, but sometimes it can takes months for problems to develop.
Find out how to recognize and to treat an infected ear piercing in a few simple steps and learn more about ear piercing care if you want to prevent any further trouble.
Infected Ear Piercing Symptoms
It’s important be on the look out for infection symptoms in the first few days after you get a piercing, but that’s not the only time when infection can strike. Usually, the first sign is the fact that the piercing area is sore and red.
Swelling and pain usually develop later and liquid discharge is another sign of infection for ear piercings. If the symptoms include yellow or green puss, you should seek medical help. Fever is another warning sign that you can’t handle it on your own, so make sure you don’t waste any time, because the infection could quickly turn into a life-threatening condition.
Infected Ear Piercing Vs. Allergic Reaction
Metal allergies can include similar symptoms to an ear piercing infection, but there are a few differences that will let you know which is the real cause of a problem. The first sign of an allergy is a burning sensation, that isn’t usually experienced when you’re dealing with an infection.
If the wound expands and you notice a clear yellow discharge, but there’s no swelling, you’re probably dealing with an allergy, not with an infected ear piercing.
New Piercing Vs. Old Piercing
If the first symptoms of an infection show up soon after a new piercing, you shouldn’t remove it. The hole will begin to close and bacteria will be locked into the tissue, and continue to fuel the infection. If your piercing is older than 6 months, you can remove it completely to focus on the treatment.
Cleaning the Infected Piercing
A salt solution is the first and simplest way to clear out the bacteria from the wound and help an infected ear piercing heal faster. You can use Epsom salts or any other type of bath salts, mixed with warm water. For good results, use the solution to wash the wound at least twice a day.
Try Warm Compresses
An infected piercing can also be treated with warm compresses. Squeezing the puss out of the area can be very painful and it’s truly effective only on soft tissues. For an infected cartilage piercing, warm compresses are a better way to remove the fluid. Don’t just use warm water, use the salt solution for the compresses and always dry the area after you’re done.
Use Antibiotic Ointment
Treat an infected ear piercing with an antibiotic ointment, always on both sides. Buy an over the counter antibiotic ointment and apply it a maximum of three sides every day, on both sides of the wound. Make sure you don’t apply a thick coat over the infected ear piercing. A little is enough and the ointment won’t interfere with the healing process if your piercing is fresh. If you experience an itching sensation or a rash very soon after you start using the antibiotic on the infected piercing, you might be allergic to it, so discontinue use.
Turn Piercings Daily
If you got your ears pierced quite recently, but you don’t want to remove the jewelry since you’re sure the metal isn’t causing any problems, make sure you turn it daily. Tissue can attach to the metal during the healing process, so you should avoid that by regularly turning the jewelry in the pierced ears.
How to Clean the Jewelry
All you need in order to clean your jewelry is hot water and soap. Always cleanse the soap away carefully before putting it back in. If you’re dealing with an infected ear piercing, you can also use antibiotic ointment on your jewelry before using it again.
How to Prevent an Ear Piercing Infection
The best way to avoid infection is to always keep your ears clean after getting a new piercing. Avoid using oils and lotions on your new piercings for at least a year and keep it away from public pools and hot tubs. Always shower and wash your ears carefully to prevent infection in recently pierced ears.