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Infected Piercings

by hadas milrod on October 30, 2023

Infected piercings can be uncomfortable and, if left untreated, may lead to more serious complications. It's essential to recognize the signs of infection and take prompt action to address it. Here's what you need to know about infected piercings:

Common Signs of an Infected Piercing:

  1. Redness: The area around the piercing becomes more red than usual.

  2. Swelling: There may be increased swelling around the piercing site.

  3. Pain: Infected piercings are often more painful than usual, especially when touched or moved.

  4. Heat: The infected area might feel warm to the touch.

  5. Discharge: You may notice pus, yellow or greenish discharge, or blood coming from the piercing. A small amount of clear or slightly white discharge is normal during the initial healing process.

  6. Foul Odor: Infected piercings can emit an unpleasant odor due to the presence of bacteria.

What to Do if You Suspect an Infection:

  1. Clean Hands: Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before touching or cleaning the infected piercing.

  2. Saline Solution: Use a saline solution (a mixture of salt and warm water) to clean the infected area. Gently soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in the saline solution and clean around the piercing, being careful not to rotate or twist the jewelry.

  3. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Do not use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other harsh chemicals on the infected piercing, as these can irritate the tissue further.

  4. Leave Jewelry In: Unless explicitly advised by a healthcare professional, do not remove the jewelry from the infected piercing. Removing the jewelry can trap the infection inside and lead to complications.

  5. Oral Antibiotics: If the infection is severe or if you have signs of a spreading infection, such as a fever or chills, consult a healthcare provider. They may prescribe oral antibiotics to clear the infection.

  6. Avoid Irritants: Keep hair products, makeup, and other potential irritants away from the infected area.

  7. Reevaluate Your Aftercare: Review your piercing aftercare routine to ensure you are following it properly. Clean the area as recommended by your piercer and avoid touching the piercing unnecessarily.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

If your infected piercing does not improve with at-home care or if it worsens, consult a healthcare provider. They can assess the infection's severity and may recommend additional treatment. Additionally, seek medical attention if you experience:

  • High fever or chills
  • Excessive pain or swelling
  • Red streaks extending from the piercing
  • Yellow or green discharge with a foul odor
  • Allergic reactions to the jewelry (e.g., excessive itching, hives)
  • A persistent infection that does not respond to antibiotics

Remember that proper hygiene and careful aftercare are essential in preventing infections in the first place. Always get pierced by a reputable professional, follow their aftercare instructions, and be mindful of the healing process. If you suspect an infection, take it seriously and seek timely treatment to ensure the health and safety of your piercing.