An infected ear piercing is not fun, so if you're dealing with that right now - my condolences. But, I will do my best to help with this article:
First and foremost, you need to determine if you have an actual infection or if you are suffering from an allergy. We broke that down more in depth here, but I will try to recap quickly. Here are the most common symptoms for an infection and for an allergy:
- Extreme redness, red streaks
- Warm to the touch
- Fluid Discharge/Pus
- Fever/Chills/Upset Stomach
Metal Allergy Symptoms:
- Fluid Discharge/Pus/Bleeding
Infections can usually be distinguished from normal healing symptoms or metal allergies if they are accompanied by fever, chills, or an upset stomach. Those symptoms are unique to an infection. The only way to be sure is to see a doctor.
Metal allergies are contact allergies that affect the area of the body that is in contact with the allergen. For these reasons, metal allergy symptoms are contained to the area around the ear piercing, and typically do not include fever, chills, or an upset stomach.
If you have these symptoms in a piercing that you have had for a long time, or after trying out a new pair of earrings, the cause is likely a metal allergy. It is likely that this allergy has been developing for a long time and the symptoms are just starting to manifest.
How to Treat:
If you've gotten to this point and determined that you have an infected ear piercing. Here's what you should do to treat it:
1) Do not remove the earring. Removing the earring can cause the infection to get trapped in the hole.
2) Clean the area with a salt water treatment three times a day
3) Use a topical antibiotic treatment
The infected ear piercing should clear up or start to improve within 2 days. If it doesn't or if you experience any of the following symptoms then you should see a doctor as soon as possible:
- The earring doesn’t move.
- The earring clasp becomes embedded in your skin.
- You develop a fever.
- The infection, or redness and inflammation, spreads beyond the piercing site.
Follow the doctor's instructions, they will most likely prescribe you with antibiotics to treat the infection.
How to Avoid an Infection:
Visit a reputable piercer who has sterilized their tools. Make sure your new earrings come out of a new package. Only touch your piercing with clean hands. Use a salt water or saline rinse twice a day.