Consider The Jewelry Material
If you have a nickel sensitivity, you may not be able to handle jewelry made of nickel-laden metals. “Its best to see your dermatologist or other health care provider as an infection can be mistaken for an allergic reaction and vice versa,” says Zalka. “Some people react to the metal in the piercing object. This can happen to those with a nickel allergy.” Silver, gold, and steel may still have small amounts of nickel in them enough to bother someone who’s very sensitive. In this case, niobium or titanium jewelry may be necessary. You may also have allergic reactions to other kinds of metals, even if they don’t contain nickel. Always consider the jewelry first if you’re having a problem, and have it changed to a high-quality metal if you think that could be the cause.
An infection does not necessarily mean that you need to remove the jewelry and jump ship from your new piercing. Many infections will clear up with some extra care, and you can keep your new jewelry. “Minor infections can be managed conservatively with saltwater or sterile saline soaks, and it is not necessary to remove the jewelry,” says Chang.
Prolonged Bleeding And Scabbing
Of course, there may be a bit of blood on the first day or two after receiving a new piercing you have a wound in your ear, after all. Despite this, when everything is going smoothly, the bleeding should clear up relatively quickly. If your piercing continues to bleed after a few days, it could be infected.
Whats The Healing Time
There are different types of tissue in different parts of your ear, so how long it takes to heal depends on your body and the place youve pierced.
Earlobes usually take 6-8 weeks. If you pierce the cartilage on the side of your ear, it can take 4 months to a year. Ask your piercing professional for an estimate.
Read Also: Can I Go To Urgent Care For Kidney Infection
Treating The Infection At Home
As long as your infection is minor, you may be able to take care of it at home. If youve had a cartilage piercing and it seems infected, seek medical treatment. These types of infections are harder to treat and may require oral antibiotics. Significant infections of the cartilage can require hospitalization.
Follow these steps to take care of a minor piercing infection:
After the infection appears to have cleared, continue this cleaning regimen twice a day until the piercing is totally healed. Remember, an earlobe piercing can take six to eight weeks to heal. Routine care is important during that time.
Usually, a minor infection of an ear piercing can be treated successfully at home. But if any of the following symptoms occur, seek medical attention:
- The earring doesnt move.
- The earring clasp becomes embedded in your skin.
- The infection doesnt improve with home treatment within two days.
- You develop a fever.
How To Prevent Helix Ear Piercings From Getting Infected
As we said above, the first stage of helix piercing infection prevention is going to a certified and well-reviewed piercing studio. However, there are other things you can do to help ensure the healing process goes smoothly :
Now you know how to heal a helix ear piercing specifically, you can learn some more general piercing care with our guide to treating an infected ear piercing.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat an Infected Helix Ear Piercing, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.
Read Also: Best Relief For Yeast Infection
Cleaning The Infected Cartilage Piercing
It takes a long time for infected cartilage piercings to heal because there is not enough blood circulation to that area. But it can heal faster with proper aftercare. Here is how to clean the pierced area for a more rapid healing process.
The recommended method for cleaning and aftercare is a saline solution. A saline solution is a mix of sea salt and warm water. Before applying on pierced site, make sure the area is properly cleaned and free of dirt, pus, dead tissue, and other material. Some individuals find the use of antibacterial soap more effective, but then you shouldnt have sensitive skin.
Reasons For Ear Piercing Infection
Infection of the wounds usually happens with the fresh and newly done piercing within a few days after the piercing. It takes about 4 weeks or a little more to cure the open wounds on the ear entirely.
Besides infections, several other complications might occur after ear piercing. A study conducted by Biggar and Haughie has found the following complication frequencies in 497 female patients: redness and swelling , drainage , infection , bleeding , cyst formation , large scars , and trauma or tear .
There are several ways an infection after ear piercing can happen. Usually, it is the bacterial infection that makes the piercing wounds go bad and cause trouble to the ear. Bacterial infection can occur from the improper initial piercing technique or poor hygiene .
Let us look at some of the reasons that aggravate the infectious conditions:
- Use of unsterilized piercing instruments and posts
- Traumatic tearing of pierced tunnel
- Presence of a foreign body in the fresh opening on skin and earlobes
- Frequent touching of the pierced area with fingers
- Wearing tight or large earrings that hurt the earlobes
- Using poor quality earrings and studs
- Forceful insertion of ear studs in a fresh piercing
- Persons with any immune-compromised state
- Preexisting deformity at the piercing site, such as psoriasis or dermatitis
- Presence of skin pathogens such as streptococcal species and staphylococcal species in the piercing area
- Allergic reactions to certain metals like nickel
Read Also: Do I Have A Uti Or Kidney Infection
A Lump Can Appear Around A New Piercing
Pyogenic granuloma is a medical complication of piercing causing a red or flesh-colored lump near or around the piercing. This can occur from an overgrowth of tissue during wound healing. Keloids are another medical complication of piercing that also results in a flesh-colored bump, usually at the site of the piercing. Specialized treatment from a plastic surgeon or ENT specialist is usually necessary for both of these conditions.
As for Kyla, she was able to avoid surgical treatment because she caught it early enough. She came to the Emergency room late that night, giving up her plans with her friends. Although she had to remove her piercing studs for the infection to heal well, I am hopeful she will have minimal scarring and be able to re-pierce her ear after the infection resolves.
What Can I Use To Clean My Piercing If I Dont Have Sea Salt
When Should I See A Doctor For An Infected Piercing
If you think you may have an infection, especially if it’s a cartilage piercing, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid complications and get started on antibiotics, says Shannahan. Don’t wait to see if an infected piercing will heal on its own, especially if you already see it worsening.
A doctor may recommend topical antibiotics such as Neosporin, or oral antibiotics, depending on infection severity. Infections can occur near the piercing site, but it can also affect the whole body, so medical attention is critical.
“If an infected piercing isn’t treated, it can lead to issues at the site like abscesses , scarring, or deformities. More commonly in body piercings than ear piercings, there can also be conditions that affect the entire body like blood or heart infections,” says Shannahan.
Red Tender Skin Around The Piercing
When your skin looks red and is sore to the touch, thats a sign of inflammation. If this occurs, your skin may also feel warm or hot. This is because an elevated body temperature helps certain types of immune cells to work better when fighting bacteria and viruses.
Note that your skin is going to be red and tender for the first couple of days after getting a new piercing, and thats just a part of the normal healing process. However, if the initial redness passes and then comes back, or if the piercing remains red for longer than just a few days, you should treat it as though its infected.
Recommended Reading: Can Acyclovir Treat Yeast Infections
Who Should Do The Piercing
Only a professional. Some pediatricians do piercings on young children.
Make sure you do research on ear piercing professionals beforehand. Ask people you trust for recommendations, and visit a few piercers to get a feel for the place and person.
Some positives to look for:
- A clean studio with good lighting
- A selection of hypoallergenic jewelry
Ask these questions:
- Do you wear disposable gloves?
- What equipment do you use?
- How do you sterilize it?
Avoid any place where they sterilize equipment in the studios public bathroom.
Why Are Cartilage Piercings Riskier
img source: inkwellkingston.com
If your pierced cartilage gets infected, ensure you get it treated as soon as possible since according to nhs.uk, this piercing is riskier than earlobe piercings. If the site becomes infected, you may develop a painful abscess. This is because the skin is close to the underlying cartilage and pus can become trapped.
In case your cartilage has developed an abscess, you need to go for surgery to remove it since antibiotics might not be of much help. Such surgical procedures require removal of the affected cartilage. This is likely to deform your ears.
Other risks associated with piercing on the ear cartilages include
- Hypertonic scarring
Read Also: When To Get Meds For Sinus Infection
What Do Doctors Prescribe For Infected Piercings
Oral antibiotics such as cephalexin or clindamycin provide coverage for streptococcus and staphylococcus. If concerns for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus exist, then oral trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole confers adequate coverage.
10 Related Question Answers Found
Treating the infection at home
How are infected ear piercings treated?
Should I Remove The Jewelry
You are not supposed to remove your jewelry once you have an infection since it helps the piercing to drain. Removing a jewelry might make the pierced channel to close up or result to abscess characterized by darkening and hardening of the surrounding tissue, swelling and pain as the infection is trapped under the skin.
In case of a serious infection, see your doctor or professional piercer who might be in a position to recommend whether you can remove the jewelry or not. Although very rare, sometimes the jewelry might be permanently removed if there is much destruction of the tissue around the piercing. This is likely to cause deformity of your ear.
Also Check: What If A Yeast Infection Goes Untreated
Always Wash Your Hands Before Touching Or Treating Your Piercing
Minor infections can often be treated at home, but it’s important to make sure you are doing so with clean hands. “Make sure you do not have a fever or swollen lymph nodes, which suggests you should seek a doctor for further evaluation,” notes Chang. “Avoid excessively touching or manipulating the infected site as this can worsen the irritation and inflammation. If touching the area, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly beforehand.” Soap and water, please!
If you don’t think the jewelry is the cause, then the source of the infection is probably bacterial. The way to fix that is to kill and/or clear the bacteria. Try cleaning the area twice a day and doing sea salt soaks twice a day basically treating it like a brand new piercing. The heat and the salt are both claimed to help draw out pus and other fluids that may contain bacteria. Hopefully, following that regimen for a few days will clear up an infection in its early stages. You can do this with a q-tip and sterile saline or saltwater . Remember to clean both the front and back of the earlobe.
“Avoid alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the affected area, as these can further irritate the skin and slow down the healing process,” says Chang.
Signs Of An Infection
- Breathing difficulties
- Swollen mouth and tongue that blocks the airway
No matter where you were pierced, there is a risk of infection, hepatitis B or C, and tetanus. You may also develop a nasal staph infection if the jewelry is pierced through the hard nasal cartilage instead of the softer, fleshy part of the septum.
“Some sites are more prone to infection than others. For example, high-rim ear piercings in the cartilage lead to infections more often than ear lobe piercings because they don’t have as much blood flow,” says Shannahan.
Read Also: Best Antibiotic For Foot Infection
When To See A Doctor
If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:
- Pain and swelling in the cartilage or earlobe
- Discharge or yellow pus from the area of the piercing
- Fever or chills
- The area of the piercing is red and swollen
- The earring or clasp is embedded in the ear or stuck in the earlobe
- Swelling and redness has spread beyond the area of the earring
How To Avoid An Illness When You Have A Cartilage Piercing
Even though it is possible to treat a cartilage infection, prevention is always best. You can prevent your cartilage from getting infected by doing the following:
All the above-listed methods will help you take care of an infected cartilage infection. It is always recommended to ensure that one seeks help with the infection when the symptoms become severe, or when the home remedies are unable to eliminate the symptoms.
Recommended Reading: How To Unclog Ears With Sinus Infection
Apply A Cold Compress
Alternating between warm and cold being applied to the infected area will increase blood supply to the cartilage. Cartilage tends to have less blood flow than fleshy areas of the body, so this can really make a difference.
Better blood supply means more antibodies are delivered to the area to fight the infection.
Which Season Is Best For Getting Piercings Done
Frankly, as per what experts both jewelry and medical science ones say, there is really no best season for getting piercing done. Weigh the benefits and pitfalls of all seasons and see whatever works or does not work for your specific case. Also, ensuring that you take good care of your piercings and maintain a general hygiene around them goes a long way towards effective healing. This includes cleaning the piercings with seasalt water, using moisturizer , minimal touching or fiddling, amongst others.
You May Like: Can I Get A Sexually Transmitted Infection In 10 Seconds
Inexpensive And Wrong Jewelry
img source: r29static.com
Secondly, some people suffer from allergic reaction that often lead to more serious infection due to the use of wrong jewelry. Nickel for instance has been noted to cause allergic reaction to many people. Ensure you only use jewelry made from stainless steel, gold or titanium. Furthermore, avoid going for a post that is too tight or loose.
My Cartilage Piercing Is Infected Causes
According to Dr. Axe, cartilage piercing infection is primarily caused by microorganisms of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus Aureus. It is normal for many people to experience the symptoms after they have had their cartilages pierced, but it is also normal for the infection to occur during the piercing process.
So what causes an infection to occur?
Cleanse With A Saline Or Sea Salt Soak
Saline and sea salt soaks work by washing away harmful bacteria that can lead to infection. They also wash away dead cells and other debris that build up around the piercing and form keloids.
If you dont want to buy saline, you can make your own using sea salt. Saline is just salt and water in specific proportions.
You can make your solution by adding ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Avoid using larger crystals as they dont dissolve well in water and can be abrasive on your skin.
To soak your ear:
Chamomile is known for its powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. A warm chamomile compress can help transfer these healing properties while increasing blood flow to the cartilage.
To make a warm chamomile compress:
You can alternate between a sea salt or saline soak and applying a chamomile compress. Just be aware: You shouldnt use chamomile if you have a ragweed allergy.