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Ear infection from earring or piercing

May, 23, 2023
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What to do for infected ear piercing

Although ear piercing is often performed in licensed centers that follow strict sanitary standards, infections can still occur. In such instances, it's important to take the appropriate steps to address the issue. Let's explore some of the best ways to treat an infected ear piercing.

Newly pierced ear infection

It is normal to experience some mild pain and discomfort for a few weeks after getting your ears pierced. However, if you notice additional symptoms such as redness, swelling, and irritation, it could be a sign of an infection. If you suspect that your newy pierced ear or ears are infected, it's essential to take immediate steps to address the issue. Ignoring the problem or delaying treatment can lead to more severe symptoms and even complications.

Old ear piercing infection

If an ear infection is left untreated, it can lead to the condition worsening and potentially causing more severe complications over time. To avoid an old piercing infection, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention promptly and undergo a thorough dermatological examination. The examination can help identify the root cause of the problem, and the appropriate treatment can be administered accordingly. Prompt treatment can also prevent the infection from spreading and promote a faster recovery, making it essential to prioritize timely medical care.

Infection from special types of piercing

When it comes to more delicate piercings such as helix, tragus, rook or daith, understanding the recommended treatment is critical. The disinfection procedures and healing times can vary depending on the type of piercing. As a result, it is crucial to have the piercer explain the specific treatment for that particular piercing. For instance, the frequency of aftercare and healing times may differ for certain piercings like helix, tragus, tower, or daith. To promote proper healing and prevent complications, it's important to comprehend the specifics of each type of piercing and follow the recommended aftercare guidelines.
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Symptoms of ear piercing infection

The main symptoms of an ear infection caused by piercing include:

  • Redness and swelling around the piercing site
  • Pulsation or warmth in the pierced area
  • Pain upon contact and increased sensitivity
  • Discharge of pus that may have an unpleasant odour and appear yellowish or greenish in colour
  • Fever, which is a sign of a more severe infection.

Pain after ear piercing

It's common to experience some ear pain and sensitivity after getting a piercing, which can last for a few weeks. However, if the pain becomes persistent and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, throbbing, or pus, it's important to seek medical attention. These symptoms may indicate an infection, which can worsen if left untreated.

Pus from ear after piercing

When left untreated, bacterial infections can cause a buildup of pus around the piercing. In such cases, the abscess may require surgical drainage, which can result in scarring. It's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent the infection from worsening and causing more serious complications.

Lumps on the skin after ear piercing

In some cases, the skin may develop lumps or keloids as a reaction to an ear piercing injury. Although they may resolve on their own within a few months, in some cases, surgical removal may be necessary. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience severe symptoms. Your doctor will be able to recommend appropriate treatment options.

What causes ear piercing infection

Infections can arise from several external factors, such as the piercing process, where the piercer may have failed to follow proper sanitation procedures, the healing phase, due to inadequate or improper post-piercing care, or bacteria that we may have come into contact with or were present on our hands.

Consequences of an ear piercing infection

If you suspect an ear infection caused by piercing, it's crucial to seek medical attention to prevent potential complications. If promptly treated with home remedies or prescribed antibiotics, the infection can resolve quickly without any significant consequences. However, neglecting treatment can lead to the development of abscesses, sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, scarring, and allergic reactions.

Allergies caused by wearing earrings

Nickel is the most common earring allergy, and symptoms typically manifest as a skin rash with itching occurring 12-48 hours after contact. If the earring is not removed, the rash may persist. Additional symptoms may include redness, itching, peeling skin, blisters, and oozing fluid.

Allergy-related infections

When exposed to irritating or non-allergic metals, allergic reactions can cause infections. This occurs because the allergy induces itching, which can lead to touching and scratching the irritated area, increasing the risk of infection.

Remedies for allergy infections

An effective treatment for nickel allergy is a vaccine that induces tolerance to nickel. This treatment has been in use for many years and is generally well-tolerated. Symptoms of nickel allergy can also be managed through the use of topical products or oral medication as prescribed by a doctor. It is also recommended to use earrings made of hypoallergenic metals such as 14-carat gold, surgical steel, or silver to prevent allergic reactions.

Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower ears may result from a piercing that was improperly done or infected. Usually, these side effects are mild, and the tissue damage heals quickly. Prior to undergoing any form of piercing, it is crucial to wait until there is no swelling and the ear has returned to normal.

Fibroid or cyst behind the ear

Following an ear piercing, the earlobe may become inflamed, leading to the formation of a reactive fibroid or a cyst behind the ear. This can manifest as a small, painful lump behind the earlobe, which can be uncomfortable to the touch.

What can cause a cyst behind the ear

It's likely that a reactive fibrous nodule or a small cyst has developed within the earlobe, resulting in a partial obstruction of the piercing hole. This obstruction can cause irritation and potentially lead to infection when an earring is worn.

How to treat a cyst behind the ear

If you experience this symptom, it's recommended to refrain from wearing earrings and disinfect the affected earlobe. A doctor may prescribe cortisone or antibiotic cream to apply topically. If the issue persists, consult a dermatologist to find a solution. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.

How to treat a pierced ear infection

If you experience symptoms of infection or an allergic reaction, you can initially try using home remedies such as saline water for the first 48 hours. However, if the symptoms persist or if you develop a fever, it's important to seek medical attention from a doctor to avoid any potential complications.

Home remedies

To ensure proper healing and prevent infections, it's important to clean your piercing regularly. A saline solution is a gentle and effective option that can be used twice a day. You can purchase a pre-made solution from a drugstore or prepare it at home by mixing warm water and non-iodised salt.

When to seek medical advice

If the infection does not improve within 48 hours or if a fever develops, it is important to seek medical attention. Common treatments for infected piercings may include topical antibiotic creams and/or oral antibiotics.

What to avoid during the treatment

During the healing process of a piercing, it's important to avoid exposing the area to the sun, sand, pool water, and cosmetics. Prolonged exposure to these elements can cause irritation and delay the healing process. Additionally, it's important not to remove the piercing for longer than necessary to clean it, as this can also impede the healing process and potentially lead to infection.

How to prevent ear infection after piercing

To prevent an ear infection, it is very important to:

  • seek out a licensed and qualified piercing center
  • avoid DIY piercings at all costs
  • follow all the sanitation practices recommended by the piercer
  • and lastly but not least, always wash your hands before touching the affected area.
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