Essentially, a piercing is essentially an open wound. In order for it to heal, an earlobe piercing usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Generally taking longer to heal and being more prone to infection, cartilage piercings take place on the harder part of your ear. Your ear piercing can get infected several ways. Today, we at the ENT Specialists would like to elaborate on ear piercing infections.
Developing into an infection, any bacteria left to fester is a detriment. You can introduce an infection simply by touching your piercing with dirty hands or instruments. Not allowing room for the wound to breathe and heal, an infection can develop in the event the earrings are on too tightly. Should there be too much handling of the piercing or the post of the earring is rough, a piercing can also get infected. If the person piercing your ears didn’t use gloves, or if the posts themselves weren’t sterile an infection can also occur if unsterile instruments were used.
To identify an infected ear piercing, its fairly easy to notice the symptoms that include yellow, pus-like discharge; swelling; redness; ongoing pain or tenderness; and itching and burning.
You may be able to take care of it at home with minor infections. However, seek medical treatment if you’ve had a cartilage piercing and it seems infected. Oral antibiotics may be required as these infections can be difficult to treat. In severe infections, hospitalization may be necessary. To treat a minor infection, follow the steps below.
1) Before treating your infection, wash your hands well.
2) With a saltwater rinse, clean around the piercing 3 times a day. Be sure use a sterile saline or make it by mixing /4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of distilled water.
3) Avoid using hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or antibiotic ointments as they can impede the healing process and cause further skin irritation.
4) Do not take out the piercing, otherwise, you risk letting the hole close and trap infection.
5) On both sides of your earlobe, do not remove the piercing. With paper towels, pat the area dry. Do not use other materials or fibers can remain behind.
6) Continue this cleaning regimen twice a day until the piercing is totally healed once the infection appears to have cleared. Routine care is vital during the 6-8 weeks of healing for an initial piercing.
Make an appointment with an ENT specialist. As mentioned, a minor infection of an ear piercing can be treated at home successfully. However, if the following symptoms below develop, be sure to get medical assistance.
– A fever develops.
– Beyond the piercing site, the infection, or redness and inflammation, spreads.
– If within 2 days the infection doesn’t improve with home treatment.
– The earring is immovable.
– The earring clasp is embedded in your skin.
Remember, with proper care and cleaning, you can reduce the risk of ear piercing infections. In the event you experience an extreme case of infection, call ENT Specialists for assistance.