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Cartilage Piercing Infections

Cartilage piercing infections are nastier than ear lobe piercing infections. A proper 'after care' is a must to reduce the occurrence of infections.
ThoughtfulTattoos Staff
Ear piercing is the most popular form of body piercing. Surprisingly, this small body part offers various sites for body piercing. Apart from earlobe piercing, which is the most primitive form of ear piercing, cartilage piercing has also gained a lot of popularity. However, unlike earlobe piercing, cartilage piercing is not entirely safe. There are some risks involved in this type of piercing. One of the most common problems with cartilage piercing is that, it is susceptible to various ear piercing infections. The paucity of blood in the cartilage worsens the infection. Hence, it is imperative to treat cartilage piercing infections on time.
Symptoms to Look For
Any piercing is followed by pain, swelling and redness in and around the pierced spot. Often, a whitish fluid drains out of the piercing. This is not to be mistaken with pus, as it is a lymphatic fluid which acts as cleanser for bacteria and dirt. A few days later, a yellowish crust forms which indicates the piercing has begun to heal. However, this may not be the case for every piercing. Sometimes, infections may develop if proper precautions are not taken while piercing or if the individual fails to take 'after care' as advised by the piercer. Infections are characterized with throbbing pain, bleeding, pus formation and presence of bump on the piercing. At times, the piercing may give out a foul odor.
Treatment Options
If you have a severe infection, then your doctor may prescribe you an antibiotics course. Alternatively, you may also treat your infected cartilage piercing at home with the help of saline solution. To prepare the saline solution, mix ½ tsp of rock salt in 1 cup of warm water. Use this solution to clean your infection at least thrice a day. You may also take ibuprofen to cope with the excruciating pain. Meanwhile, take vitamin C and zinc supplements to fasten the healing process. The problem with the cartilage piercing is that the absence of blood vessels in this area prolongs the healing process thereby increasing the occurrence of infections. If the infection goes untreated for long, it may result in the development of a permanent lump called keloid, near the piercing.
Preventive Measures
The job of the professional piercer does not end with the piercing. He should advise the individual about taking proper care of the piercing. He himself must execute certain precautionary measures while piercing. Wearing clean gloves and using sterilized instruments for piercing is a must for any piercer. Generally, it is recommended to get needle piercing done rather than with a piecing gun, unless disposable sterile cassettes are used. Piercing with sterilized needle reduces the chances of infection. Besides, the individual who got a piercing done, must take the following steps to prevent cartilage infection.
»Never touch your ear piercing with bare hands. Dirty hands is the most common access point for the bacteria to enter your piercing.
» Wash your hands thoroughly with a disinfectant soap solution and only then touch your piercing.
» Do not play with your piercing jewelry. Fingering the jewelry with dirty hands is another cause of infection.
» Take proper care of the piercing while putting on clothes.
»Clean the ear with an antiseptic solution at least twice a day, until the piercing heals completely.
» Meanwhile soak the jewelry in alcohol solution to disinfect it.
» Do not apply tea tree oil, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide directly on the piercing.
» Do not keep changing the jewelry often, during the initial months of the piercing.
»Keep your hair clean and never put the public telephone receiver directly on your ear.
Precautions and a good after care are the only ways of preventing infections. If you find your infection becoming nasty, you should consult a physician (and not the piercer!) without any delay.