Friday, 31 August 2012

All You Need To Know About Ear Piercing Infections

What is an ear piercing infection?

Children tend to touch their earlobes with dirty hands which may lead to infection in ear piercings. Yellow or white discharges, swelling, tenderness and pain are the common symptoms of an ear piercing infection. Fever may accompany the infection along with swelling of lymph glands in the neck and along the jaw line. Earrings that are too tight may reduce blood flow to the earlobe and promote the infection. Dirt lodged inside the earring, especially on the backside aggravates the infection. Inserting earrings at the wrong angle may scratch and wound the channel leading to infections. With proper care, the infection clears up in about two weeks.

Causes of pierced ear infections 

  • Handling ear piercings with dirty hands. 
  • Frequently fiddling with earring using unclean hands. 
  • Using un-sterilized equipment for making piercing. 
  • Using un-sterilized earring posts during new piercings. 
  • Earring that are too tight and don’t allow air circulation. 
  • Cheap earring with rough areas that wound the channel and cause infections. 
  • Using earrings made of materials like nickel that may cause allergic reactions. 
  • Sharing of earrings is not a healthy practice. 

Treatment for Ear Piercing Infections 

  • Use an antibiotic cream prescribed by a doctor. 
  • Take antibiotic tablets if the problem is severe. 
  • Continuing to wear the earring is believed to ensure proper pus drainage and prevent abscess formation. 
  • Ensure your earring is of good quality and non allergic if you are not planning on removing it. 
  • Clean the earring and piercing with antibacterial soap twice a day. 
  • Re-insert the earring or post after applying antibiotic cream on it, to prevent the piercing from closing up. 
  • Continue using the antibiotic cream for a few more days even if the infection seems to have cleared up. 
  • Keep the area dry as possible. 

Prevention of Ear Piercing Infections 

  • It is recommended that the child is at least four years old before the piercing is done, so that she can take better care of the piercing. 
  • Prevent touching the piercing or earrings with unwashed hands. 
  • Have a doctor or a professional piercer do the ear piercing. 
  • Do not attempt to do it yourself. 
  • Ensure the ear piercing equipment has been disinfected before usage. 
  • Use hypo allergic jewellery like 14 or 18 carat gold, titanium, etc for new piercings. 
  • Earrings maybe changed as often as pleased after the initial six weeks of a new piercing. Allow that much time for proper healing. 
  • Avoid wearing tight earrings and provide some airspace on both sides of the earlobes. 
  • Discard earrings with rough spots that may cause injuries to the channel. 

After care Instructions for newly pierced earrings 

  • Do not remove the post for 6 weeks to allow the channel to heal well. 
  • Turn the post for around three rotations twice a day. 
  • Ensure your hands are clean before touching your piercing. 
  • Avoid touching the site unnecessarily to prevent infection. 
  • Clean twice a day, removing any crust formation using a cotton swab moistened with antibacterial soap. 
  • Clean with clear water and then ensure the area remains dry. 
  • Disinfecting with alcohol or peroxide is not recommended as the surrounding skin may dry out. 
  • Prevent hair or any clothing from brushing against the pierced site. 
  • If an infection occurs, shift to a hypo-allergic earring to ensure the piercing doesn't close up. 
  • Vitamin C and multivitamins encourage faster healing 
  • Avoid head showers or swimming during the first couple of days, if unavoidable, then ensure the pierced site is cleaned and dried at the earliest. 
  • Ensure clean bedding and pillow casing to prevent infecting the piercing.

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