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How to Treat a Pierced Ear Infection

When a person chooses to get their ears pierced the piercing should be performed with sterile piercing instruments in a hygienic location.  Oftentimes, when the piercing is not performed with clean utensils it can lead to an infection.  Plus the metal that goes into the ear lobe after it has been pierced may cause the ear lobe to become irritated and lead to an infection.  The most common metals used in pierced ears are stainless steel, silver and gold but platinum is the best metal to pierce ears with. 

Other reasons that the ear lobes may become infected are that they may become exposed to chemicals such as hair products or cosmetics and perfumes.  The pierced ears may also become infected by the amount of pressure that was placed on the ear lobes, and if the procedure was unhygienic or the new piercing was not cleaned and maintained properly.  A person who gets an infection in their ear lobes as a result of having them pierced may experience symptoms such as pain and/or irritation in the area where the skin was pierced.  They may also experience a fever.

In most cases, the ear lobe infection will clear up on its own over time and there is no need to take any special medications.  Instead the person is instructed to keep the infected area clean.  If on the other hand the infection does not heal on its own and the person continues to experience pain and irritation, they should contact a doctor to receive medical treatment.

When a person first suspects that they are getting an infection in the pierced area they should clean the area properly.  One of the best products used to clean infected piercings is hydrogen peroxide.  If the hydrogen peroxide is not remedying the infection try using warm salt water to cleanse the infected ear lobe.

Use a low dose of salt as a mixture containing large amounts of salt can cause further agitation.  Soak a cotton ball in the saline mixture and gently cleanse the infected area.  When making the saline mixture take care to use non-iodized salt such as sea salt or Epsom salt.  A non-iodized salt needs to be used because the iodine found in table salt can cause further aggravation.  After cleaning the piercing, make sure that the skin is thoroughly dried.  To thoroughly dry the cleansed area apply a hot compress to the infection.

When a person experiences a pierced ear infection they should eat foods that have vitamin C, zinc and other minerals.  Garlic should be eaten to aid in healing the infection.  Most piercings that get infected heal by themselves.  It just takes some time and patience.  If the healing process is taking longer than expected, seek medical attention.


In: Ear, Nose & Throat, Posted 5 years ago

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