Among the various areas of the body piercing, ear is the most common site. And according to the statistics available, 35 out of 100 people with pierced ear would develop infection or some complication. Many of them would have a minor infection and some would develop an allergic reaction after ear piercing. A very small percentage of people would develop keloid as part of ear piercing infection and in rare cases it can lead to tearing of ear lobes.
It has become common nowadays to have multiple ear piercings done to keep updated with the fashion. And many people prefer to have high piercing on their cartilages rather than on the ear which may lead to complications like perichondritis and abscess formation. Some of the symptoms of ear piercing infection are swelling of ear, warmth and reddened ear with pain and discomfort. In some cases it may lead to necrosis. Major cause of ear piercing infections is Staph bacteria or Pseudomonas bacteria. Several species of these bacteria can cause infection. Antibiotics are the first line treatment for ear piercing infection. In severe cases of pus formation, surgical drainage is done.
The first symptom of ear piercing infection is the tenderness on the pierced ear. The concerned ear can develop inflammation within 24 hours of piercing. Redness of ear, pain, warmth and discomfort are some of the symptoms of ear piercing. If left untreated infection can take place causing bumps or blisters. In some cases it can cause fluid discharge from the pierced ear with foul smell indicating presence of bacteria. In people with weakened immunity it can cause tiredness and mild fever.
Infection on the pierced site occurs mainly while using unsterilized instruments for piercing. Piercing done in dirty environment and touching the piercing site with dirty hands while piercing can cause infection. Wearing tight jewelry can interfere with the normal blood flow making the ear vulnerable to infection. Similarly wearing incompatible jewelry and cheap jewelry having rough posts can cause scratching leading to infection. Certain types of metals can cause allergic reaction which may lead to infection. Earrings when inserted in wrong angle can cause tissue scarring causing infection.
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Ear Piercing and Cartilage Piercing :
Cartilage piercing is piercing done other than the soft lower most part of the ear. Plenty of cartilages are found in both ears and nose. Cartilages are somewhat hard when compared with flesh but it is not that hard as a bone. Piercing on cartilage increases the risk of infection due to many reasons. Cartilage piercing can be done on any part of the ear like the helix that runs from the main lobe to the middle part of the ear, or on the conch which is nothing but inner part of the visible ear and on the tragus which is the region that separates the ear canal from the face.
Tips For Preventing Ear Infection :
- Follow the instructions of professional piercers in each aspect.
- Avoid touching the ear or jewelry shortly after piercing.
- Insist on using sterilized needles for piercing and seek professional help in your area.
- Always use good quality metals like gold or silver on the site of piercing.
- Don’t wear the earrings tight and make it loose and comfortable.
- Avoid swimming in public pools since the contaminated water can cause infection.
- Don’t change the posts at least for 6 weeks since removing it can cause the piercing to close.
- Ensure that the post is held loose on your ear so that you can rotate it freely.
- Clean the earrings frequently to prevent any dirt accumulation.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Infected Ear Piercing :
For mild infection you can try several home remedies like rubbing alcohol, using saline water or applying warm compression over the area. Use mild antibacterial soap for a month after piercing. Over the counter painkillers and topical antibiotic creams can be used. For severe case of infection with bumps and pain your doctor would prescribe suitable antibiotics.