If one of your piercings looks red or swollen, it may be infected. In this article, we give you tips on how best to treat infected piercings and how to prevent infections in the future
Treat an infected piercing
Recognize the symptoms of an infected piercing.
Infections are most common with unprofessional or incorrectly done piercings. If you notice any of the following symptoms, your piercing may be infected:
- Pain or tenderness to pain
- Severe redness
- Discharge of pus, blood, or other fluid
Don’t wait too long to start treatment.
Infections can progress very quickly if left untreated, and on the other hand, most infections can be treated fairly easily if started early and treated consistently. If you have any questions, your piercer can help you. If in doubt, you should always clean the piercing with warm water and soap.
Flush your ear with a saline solution.
You can buy this simple antiseptic from most piercers, but you can also easily make it at home. To do this, simply mix 1/8 tablespoon of non-iodized sea salt into a cup of water and stir until the salt dissolves. Dip your piercing in the water or use a clean cotton swab to press the solution onto the newly pierced area for about twenty minutes twice a day.
Apply an antibiotic to the pierced area.
Use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment from a pharmacy to kill bacteria. Apply the ointment very gently twice a day with a cotton swab or pad.
- If you get a rash or itching, stop using the ointment. The symptoms could indicate an allergic reaction.
Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and bruising.
An ice pack helps reduce swelling and can help fight infection. Never apply ice directly to your skin as it can cause tissue damage. There should always be a layer of cloth, such as a towel, between the ice pack and the skin.
Call your piercer or stop by the studio.
They can give you the best advice based on your piercing and your symptoms. He may repeat the thorough cleaning immediately after the sting and can quickly nip an incipient infection in the bud.
- If your infection isn’t too bad, the piercer can tell you how to treat it yourself.
- If he sees that the infection is more serious, he will send you to a doctor with detailed information about the piercing, the wound, and the symptoms.
See a doctor if an infection lasts more than two days or you develop a fever.
They will then likely prescribe you a remedy for the infection, usually an antibiotic. If your symptoms do not improve or even worsen after treating the infection at home, you should see a doctor immediately. Pay particular attention to the following symptoms:
- muscle or joint pain
- nausea or vomiting
Prevent infected piercings
Clean you’re piercing regularly.
Gently wash fresh piercings regularly with a washcloth and warm water and soap. Keeping dirt and bacteria out of the wound should be enough to prevent infection.
- Always clean you’re piercing after exercise, outdoor activities, cooking, and cleaning.
- While rubbing alcohol kills bacteria, it is also extremely drying to the skin and can potentially cause infection.
Rinse your piercing with a saline solution twice a day.
You can purchase this solution from your piercer, or you can make your own with just two ingredients. Mix 1/8 tablespoon non-iodized sea salt in 1 cup distilled water and stir until dissolved. Soak your piercing in saltwater or dip a clean cotton swab in it and apply the mixture to the newly pierced area twice a day for twenty minutes each time.
Keep your hands clean
Dirty hands are the number one cause of infection, so you should always wash your hands thoroughly before touching or handling your piercing.
Don’t wear tight clothing over the piercing.
If your piercing is constantly rubbing against your clothing, wear looser clothing. This is especially true for navel piercings, genital piercings, nipple piercings and other body piercings.
Stay away from pools, hot tubs, and the gym for two to three days after your piercing.
There is a lot of moisture and bacteria in these places, which often cause infections. A piercing is an open wound and bacteria can enter it much more easily than through unbroken skin.
Basically, all freshly made piercings become inflamed for a few days.
Don’t freak out right away if you notice redness in the first few days and the area is very sensitive to pain. This is your body’s normal reaction to a puncture. Mild inflammation is quite normal and is easily treated with an ice pack and ibuprofen. However, if the inflammation lasts longer than three to five days, you may develop an infection.
Do not remove jewelry if you suspect infection.
It may seem counterproductive, but you should definitely leave your piercing in if you notice any signs of infection, such as pus. If you take the piercing out, the hole could close up and the infection would be trapped in the body. Therefore, the piercing must remain open so that any secretions can drain, otherwise, an abscess can occur or the infection can worsen. 
- Do not remove piercings from infected areas. The wound would overgrow and the infection would be trapped in the body, making it very difficult to treat.
- Soak your piercing in sea salt at least once a day, but no more than twice a day to avoid drying out the skin.
- For surface piercings like nipple piercings, mix sea salt and hot water in a hot glass and apply the mixture to your piercing, allowing it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Always wash your hands before touching you’re piercing.
- Apply hot compresses to your piercing at 20-minute intervals to reduce swelling and help drain any secretions.
- Infections should always be treated quickly, otherwise, they can easily spread.
- Even if you don’t have any problems with infections, good hygiene will help your piercing heal quickly.
- You may also have an allergic reaction to the material of the piercing. You should discuss with your piercer which materials are best and cause the fewest problems.
- If you have an infected ear piercing and long hair, try to keep your hair away from the piercing. Bacteria can collect in the hair, which can then be transferred to the piercing and make the infection worse. So it’s better to tie your hair back so it doesn’t come into contact with the infected piercing.
- Don’t take the piercing out.
- See a doctor if you have severe pain or a fever, as you will most likely need medication to fight the infection.
- Go to the doctor immediately.
What you need
- A cup of water
- Spray or special cleaning solution from your piercer. Don’t take too much.