Among the several options for body piercing, ear piercing is the most common type. The approach for ear piercing may be cultural practice or just to flaunt jewelry for style. Since piercings are done in the exposed body parts such as the ear, it requires less time for healing as compared to other types of body piercings, such as the belly button, navel, and tongue. Also, the chances of unusual complications are rare.
There are very rare chances of getting your ear infected, if the procedure is conducted by a qualified piercer and the aftercare tips are followed correctly. Without infections and other unusual signs, ear piercing heals in about 6-8 weeks. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with any type of piercing. Having a thorough knowledge about the causes of ear piercing infection and its symptoms will help you in getting over the painful complications.
An infected ear piecing can be caused due to any of the reasons―unsterilized piercing instruments, very tight earring, averting aftercare instructions, etc. After the piercing procedure, the pierced area should be cleaned daily with a saline solution. You can rotate the earrings as per the directions of the piercer. Also, you may be restricted from removing the jewelry for the first 3-4 weeks, when the skin is in the process of healing. Failure to follow these tips will increase the risk of an infected ear piercing. The healing time can be as long as several months.
The symptoms of this infection are manifested very shortly. At times, you may notice infection signs within 24-48 hours after the procedure. Besides these symptoms, there are certain signs that are manifested as a part of the regular healing process. Go through the following infected ear piercing symptoms which will help you in identifying whether you have contracted an infection or not:
RednessAfter the piercing procedure, reddening and swelling of the pierced site is normal to some extent. However, redness of the skin with associated symptoms like inflammation and sharp pain may be a sign of infection. If skin redness does not subside even after 2-3 days, then seek advice from the piercer.
InflammationOne of the most significant signs is swelling or inflammation in the pierced area. In such a case, you may feel a sense of heaviness and inflammatory symptoms in the ear piercing area. Consult a qualified doctor if the inflammation persists for more than one week.
Burning painPainful symptoms are normal after any type of body piercing. But if pain does not subside within 5-6 days after ear piercing, then it may be a symptom of infection. With an infected ear pierce, pain with burning and tingling sensation will increase gradually instead of reducing.
FeverIn case you run a high temperature or fever after getting your ear pierced, chances are high that you have developed an infection. Seek medical advice for combating fever, if the temperature remains above 100°F for the next two days.
Fluid-filled BlistersAnother symptom is the development of fluid-filled blisters in and around the hole. Do not open the pustules as it can worsen the case. You need to apply over-the-counter antibiotic topical ointments for the treatment of pustules.
Unusual DischargeIf you notice draining of a foul-smelling, yellowish-green fluid from the ear piercing area, then it is a sure sign of infection. Do not confuse this unusual fluid leaking with discharge of clear yellowish fluid, as the latter is a symptom of the normal healing process.
Before advocating any kind of treatment, ensure that the symptoms are manifested due to an infection, but not by allergic reactions to the jewelry. Most of the above-mentioned symptoms improve with effectual home remedies such as saline water wash, cold compresses, and keeping the area dry. In case the symptoms do not respond and persist for more than 5-6 days, get the ear piercings checked by a qualified doctor.