When you get your ears pierced, chances are that the professional will provide with you list of aftercare tips. As you are making an artificial injury to your skin, it is more prone to infection. Here’s what you need to know before you get pierced.
Body piercings have been popular since ages. As per the recent current piercing stats, 72% of Americans have at least one body piercing.
So, if you are planning for one, you can look for some cool ear piercing options. All is well with them. But just one thing you have to be careful about is infection. You can consider the piercing as an open wound. And this can take somewhere around six to eight weeks to heal. The time varies as per the pierced area. For instance, cartilage piercings tends to be the most painful as these take place on the harder part of your ear. Hence, it can take a longer time to heal. Plus, it will be more prone to infection.
Why does ear piercing get infected?
Actually, infections are caused by exposure to bacteria or viruses, majorly during the piercing process. It can be due to an unclean environment, unsterilized needles or a poor aftercare. It is not necessary that the infection will be evident in first few days. There are chances of its occurrence anytime during the healing process, i.e. up to 2 months.
Here is a list of reasons why you piercing tends to become infected.
- The bacteria around fester quickly which turn into an infection.
- Too much handling of the piercing can be dangerous.
- Use of unsterile instruments while piercing.
- Touching the pierced area with dirty hands or instruments can introduce an infection.
- When the earrings are on too tightly and there is no room for the wound to breathe and heal.
How to check for an infected piercing?
This one is not a big challenge. You need to check on these symptoms to identify an infected ear piercing:
- Pus-like discharge
- Burning sensation
So, if you find these for a day or more, you need to start with the treatment to prevent it from getting worst.
How to treat the ear piercing infection?
If the infection is minor, you can start with the treatment at the home. But in case of cartilage piercing, or if it seems to be strongly infected, you must seek medical treatment. As these types of infections are harder to treat, one may require oral antibiotics.
Below is given a step by step plan to take care of a minor piercing infection:
- Clean your hands before touching or cleaning the pierced area.
- To wash the pierced part, use a saltwater to rinse your skin and repeat it three times a day.
- You must use a sterile saline or just combine 1/4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of distilled water to prepare it at home.
- Avoid hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or antibiotic ointments as these might further irritate the skin. Plus, these can reduce the speed of healing.
- Unless the doctor asks, don’t remove the piercing. Else it might cause the hole to close up and trap infection.
- While cleaning, ensure that you gently work on both sides of your earlobe. It should be followed by patting the area dry with paper towels.
- Don’t scratch the piercing, even if it itches a lot. You can use a topical anesthetic cream like Dr.Numb®. It will numb the skin for a long time and you won’t feel the itching.
If this works for you and the infection appears to have cleared, you can continue the same process for two more days. Or until the piercing gets totally healed!