How To Tell If A Piercing Is Infected 

How To Tell If A Piercing Is Infected 

As it is Halloween and all, we thought we’d take a look at the not-so-pleasant side of body piercing. No matter how skilled your piercer, the health of your piercing will depend on how well you look after it when you come home and during the month’s of healing ahead.

Piercings are prone to bacterial infections, particularly if you cannot keep from fiddling with it – especially with hands that have just touched a keyboard, a self-scanner cash register at the supermarket or an Uber door handle. And even with a good level of aftercare, cartilage piercings become infected over 20% of the time. Good news is, they clear up pretty quickly. 

An infection can also occur if the instruments were not sterilised or if the person piercing you didn’t use gloves. We cannot stress the importance of coming to a highly skilled and experienced piercer enough! 

Keep an eye out for pus and excessive swelling

A new piercing will inevitably be cause for some soreness, a little bleeding and some fluid (clear) discharge that may form a crust. They might also be itchy, and a little red on lighter skin and little darker area than usual on darker skin. Small lumps can also form around the piercing. These are known as granulomas and you can treat them holding a pad soaked in warm water pressed to it once per day. 

However, if there is pus – which can be white, yellow, or green, along with excessive soreness, swelling, and heat, there is cause for concern. If you have an infected piercing, you may also be feeling generally unwell and out of sorts as the body tries to fight the infection. It is also possible to have chills and develop a slight fever. If you have a nose piercing it may feel a little constricted to breathe through your nose. Likewise, a swollen tongue or lip from an infected piercing there may make it harder to eat. 

You may need antibiotics

If it is a cartilage piercing, you are generally recommended to see a doctor as soon as possible. They will most likely prescribe topical antibiotics, but if the infection is very severe, oral antibiotics might be necessary. Therefore it is best not to wait and see if it will heal on its own, especially if it has already gotten worse over a couple of days. Do not take the jewellery out unless specifically directed to do so by a doctor as the wound may close up and pus can get trapped inside. 

Once your infection has cleared up, go back to your meticulous cleaning regimen. And no idle fiddling with the jewellery! If you have any concerns ahead of or after the piercing process, please do not hesitate to shoot us a question. 


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