Ear Piercing Infection

What is Ear Piercing Infection?

Ear piercing is a very ancient tradition which is followed all over the world. Sometimes as fashion sometimes as a trend whatever the reason may be, ear piercing has not only touched human life, but has become a part of human life. In spite of excruciating and sharp pain caused during piercing the ear, people still love to move on with this practice. Apart from this, ear piercing also holds religious importance in certain regions of the world. From a medical standpoint, ear piercing may make the ear susceptible to ear piercing infection. However, ear piercing infection could not be considered as life threatening infection. Ear piercing infection is one of the common types of infections in the human body.

Ear Piercing Infection

As mentioned earlier, ear piercing does not result in any health issues as such, but still individuals who pierce their ears are more prone to a number of microbial infections in the initial weeks of ear piercing. Ear piercing infection must be treated as soon as possible as negligence for a prolonged period may result in severe painful condition and spreading of infection to the entire area of the ear. Teenagers and children are even more susceptible to ear piercing infection and hence it becomes necessary to keep information on causes, symptoms and treatment for ear piercing infection. Much better would be following preventive measures so that the ear piercing infection does not occur in the first place.

In some cases inflammation of the perichondrium or perichondritis may also lead to ear piercing infection and therefore it becomes necessary to seek medical advice as soon as the symptoms are suspected.

Causes and Risk Factors of Ear Piercing Infection

Ear piercing infection is not always caused on piercing the ear, but this could not be neglected as the chances are not nil. Ear piercing infection is caused due to entry of the microbes and germs on the skin through the pierced area. Given below are some of the causes of ear piercing infection.

  • Use of unsterilized equipment for piercing the ear.
  • Touching the newly pierced ear lobes with dirty, unhygienic and unwashed hands.
  • Using tight earrings or over-tightening of the clasp may result in reducing the flow of blood to the ear lobes making them prone to infections. 
  • Uneven and rough surface present on the earring that may result in repetitive scratching on the wound.
  • Allergic reaction to the metal used for ear piercing, especially nickel allergy, which is more commonly found in children and teenagers.

Signs and Symptoms of Ear Piercing Infection

  • Pain.
  • Yellow discharge from the pierced area.
  • Burning sensation.
  • Irritation in the affected region.
  • Redness or appearance of red bumps.
  • Swelling.

Treatment for Ear Piercing Infection

Ear piercing infection must be treated as soon as possible. Antibiotics are the medicines usually prescribed and the initial step taken to treat ear piercing infection. However, there are also certain easy and useful home remedies available for treating ear piercing infection.

Home Remedies for Ear Piercing Infection

Given below are some home remedies that are helpful in treating ear piercing infection.

Non-Iodized Salt Solution for Ear Piercing Infection:

Mixing a non-iodized salt in the ratio of 8:1 in warm water. Dipping a cotton ball in this preparation and applying it on the affected area for about five minutes is helpful in treating the infection. Repeat this four times a day.

Epsom Salt Solution for Ear Piercing Infection :

Epsom Salt Solution for Ear Piercing Infection

Soaking cotton ball in an Epsom salt solution or in sea salt and applying it on the affected area for about five minutes is also very helpful. Repeat this two times a day.

Ice-Cube for Ear piercing Infection:

Rubbing an ice-cube gently on the affected area helps in reducing inflammation.

Preventive Measures for Ear Piercing Infection

  • Individuals suffering from keloids, bleeding and easily prone to infections resulting from staphylococcus must avoid any kind of ear piercing.
  • Avoid gunshot piercing as this may result in tissue damage.
  • Piercing of the ears should only be done by an expert that too with sterile techniques.
  • Keep the clasp loose enough in order to maintain the flow of blood in the ear loop.
  • The initial post used should be either of stainless steel or gold.
  • Remove the earrings and wipe the area with a diluted solution of alcohol. Doing this not only dehydrates, but also kills all the microorganisms on the skin and helps in preventing ear infections. Repeat this thrice a day for the initial 20 to 25 days of ear piercing.
  • Application of antibiotic cream on pierced region regularly before bedtime and after a shower.
  • Keeping the telephone and similar things sterilized and clean helps in preventing the ears from getting infected and also reduces the chances of ear piercing infection since they come in direct contact with the ear.
  • The earring has to be rotated or removed from the ear at least once a day.
  • Wash the hands thoroughly before touching the earrings since hands are generally dirty and may lead to ear piercing infection.
  • Make sure not to remove the earring from the infected ear. If the earring is removed and the hole closes there are high chances that the infection will get trapped and lead to further complications.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: April 9, 2014

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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