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How to Tell Your Piercing is infected? What to Do?

Posted by Ann V. On 2016 Aug 27th

How to Tell Your Piercing is infected? What to Do?

No matter which body piercing is your favourite, make sure to watch for the signs for infection to get treatment on a right time. Infection is caused by the wrong aftercare and wrong practices. Here are the signs of infected piercing to look for.

From eyebrow, nose, ear, lip, nipple and belly button to the genitals, there is a piercing for all body parts from head to “below the belt”. No matter where you get body piercing, aftercare is essential to keep infections and other complications like scarring. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of infection till it becomes complicated. The infection can be critical or life threatening if not treated on time.

If you have got a fresh piercing, you should check the piercing wound for the signs of infection.

How Infection Can Wreak Havoc on Your Body?

Infection of the mouth or lips lead to problems in speech, chewing, or swallowing problems or swelling that can block the throat.

Infection of a nipple may lead to the scarring of the breast tissue and affect the ability to breastfeed later.

Observe the Piercing Spot Carefully:

After getting the body pierced, take a note of the site in the light. Use mirror for your nose and ear piercing. Generally, the infection signs start becoming visible within 2 weeks. Nose, genitals and ear piercing are more vulnerable to infection than other parts.

Notice If the Area is Red:

It is totally normal for a piercing spot to be pink as it is a fresh wound. However, don’t take it lightly if the redness is intensive and spreads to a larger area. It is a sign of a possible infection. Keep an eye to see if the redness is getting worse. If it is still persist and turned into dark or pink, chances are your piercing has been infected.


Swelling is also a common sign that can be associated with infection. However, your piercing spot tends to swell for nearly 48 hours due to your body’s respond to injury. After that time, swelling should go away. If it persists and goes worse with pain, then it is a definite sign of infection.

Discharge of Fluid or Pus:

Like swelling and redness, the continuous discharging of pus of fluid from the infected area is also a sign of infection. The fluid may be transparent or yellow or in some cases, it may be green.

Feeling Pain or Burning Sensation:

Pain or burning sensation is normal if it persists for a few hours or a day. But that tells your piercing is infected if you feel pain while touching the pierced area. Besides, take it as infection if the pierced area gives off heat.


Experiencing fever or cold chill is a symptom of the more rigid type of infection. See your physician if you have continuous, nausea, fever or chills after piercing.

How to Treat Piercing Infection at Home?

So these are the symptoms of infection after body piercing. Luckily, most of these infected signs can be treated at home.

Clean Your New Piercing Properly:

Your piercer will give aftercare plan related to the cleaning of your new piercing. The aftercare plan may vary based on the type of body piercing you have, but in general, it requires you…

  • Cleaning of skin piercing with warm water and non-perfumed soap.
  • Avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the new piercing as it causes irritation or damage.
  • Avoid using antibiotic creams or ointments as they cut out the air supply to the wound.
  • Gently move or twist the jewelry while cleaning the piercing spot.

Don’t Remove Your Jewelry:

Removing the jewelry is not recommended when your healing period is on, which is lasted for weeks. The healing process will seal the hole, making it difficult for you to reinsert the jewelry. Even you should not remove the jewelry in the worst case of infection.

Wear Hypoallergenic Jewelry:

Don’t wear cheap or plastic jewelry as they react with the bodily fluids, thereby worsening your infection. Instead, prefer wearing hypoallergenic jewelry like stainless steel, titanium and niobium. You can wear gold jewelry once your piercing spot is healed.

Use Home Remedy for a Mild Infection:

Several home remedies are useful to treat mild infection. Epsom salt one of these remedies for piercing infection. Just dissolve 1 tbsp. of Epsom salt or table salt in 1 cup of warm water. Dip a cotton ball and give a gentle compression to the piercing. Repeat it twice times a day, 15 minutes per session. Neem paste and turmeric paste are also effective to treat the infected site.

Avoid Sleeping on the Side of Piercing:

Sleeping on the piercing side causes pain and discomfort, affecting your healing rate. So, try to sleep on the back or other side till your piercing is healed.

See Your Physician:

If the symptoms persist or goes worse, it is better if you see your physician. If an infection spreads or enters your bloodstream, it can turn into complicated, even worse— life-threatening systemic infection. The other signs that require you a doctor visit are fever, chills, vomiting and dizziness. A doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to put a check on a severe infection. If the infection gets into your blood, you may be required to stay under critical medical assistance or probably have IV antibiotics.

Avoid Touching the Piercing Spot with Contaminated Hands:

Touching your piercing spot very often, especially with contaminated hands, is an invitation to piercing. Make sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap before and after handling your piercing spot.