Infected Ear Piercing: Bump, Cartilage, Lobe, Symptoms, How to Treat

Infected ear piercing? Ear-piercing is a practice that has been carried out since very long time is a way of adding beauty as some people easily describes. If you have plans have piercings on your ears, you need to ensure it is done carefully and you carry out best after care activities to ensure the area is not infected. Pierced ear infection is a common problem that affects people who pierce their ears and assume that is the end of the story.
Knowing that you have infected ear piercing is very simple. The symptoms for the condition can range from a mild to moderate or even is important for you to know the reason why your ear is infected, and this can be easy if you know the symptoms that accompany each condition. Treatment and care for the ear piercing is a key factor after knowing the disease causing agent.
Apart from all the efforts and safety procedures that are followed to not to get infected, some people, still are caught up in a mess of getting infected. If by good or bad lack you get infected, instead of worry get to know what caused the condition. You should keep the infected area always clean and follow the remedies as prescribed, and it won’t take long before you see your infections getting improved.

Infected Ear Piercing Causes

Infection can take place into a new ear piercing or on the piercing that has been there since. There are different things that will affect an old ear piercing and a new one as well. The discussion will cover sections like, how infection would occur during piercing or healing and after healing. However, have it in mind that, the main cause of infection is due to germs which include bacteria, fungi or certain viruses.

  1. Causes of new piercing ear infections

Regardless of the place your ear piercing was done; infected piercing can get anybody who gets a new piercing.

  1. Use of unsterilized equipment

You can get an infection on your new piercing if your piercer uses piercing equipment either contaminated with dirt or has already been used on somebody else.

  1. Touching

When your ear piercer keeps own touching your ear pierce, chances are that you may transfer disease causing germs from the piercer’s hands to tools or directly to your ears. This may also happen while inserting the posts because the whole procedure must have a contact between the source of contamination and the ears.

  1. Bad or poor quality earrings

Your new ear piercing may get infected on condition that the first pair of earrings results in an irritation which causes itching hence a disease. Through a continuous itching, your skin may be perforated exposing it to micro-organisms that result to diseases. Some researches reveal that, microorganisms act as antigens, which triggers the body’s immune system, leading to formation of pus after inflammation.
Apart from cheap and poor quality, tight earrings can as well lead to infected ear piercing. Heavy metal bars from earlobes can leave earring hole stretched with pain.

  1. Old infected ear piercing

A number of people don’t believe that already healed and long lived ear piercing can get infected.  Do not be surprised to get your completely healed or old ear piercing infected months, or years after. Some of the common reasons through which they get infected include:

  1. Contaminated touches

Touching with dirty hands or allowing your friends to touch or hold the earrings may result into a disease. Also, exchanging or swapping your earrings with friends may lead to your ear piercing infection.

  1. Removing or changing the earrings

If you are a person who likes changing and removing earing occasionally, you may cause an irritation to them. Maybe the ones you changed to are bigger or with strong metals which can result to irritation.

  1. Injury on earring hole

Some people force through big earrings to their piercings hence causing them to overstretch. However if your piercing has closed, make arrangements to visit your piercer again rather than doing it yourself in a bad way, as it may result to trauma.

  1. Bacterial infections of the ear cartilage e.g. perichondritis,

Bacteria are well known as the common cause of diseases. You should at all time not give a chance to any condition that will allow bacteria to infest on your ear piercing.
Other causes may include:

  • Swimming in contaminated water pools, etc.
  • Inserting your earrings to a new piercing without a mirror might make it get hurt as it is still recovering.
  • Allergic reactions to the materials of the posts especially nickel which is known to cause allergic reactions as well as an itchy feeling.
  • Injuries causes by earrings especially if inserted at a wrong angle by kids.

Infected Ear Piercing Bump

If it happens that you developed a bump at the site of the pierce, draining the infected ear piecing bump should at any cost never be done by yourself. This may lead to it turning red, swollen or painful, or drains pus, could indicate a staphylococcus infection or other bacteria. Instead, just visit your medical provider as they may choose to drain the bump and send the fluid for testing to observe the type of bacteria in it. In the meantime, the doctor put you on an oral antibiotic.
At any case a wound develops on the skin like a body piercing, and then you run the risk of developing an infection. The problem can get worse if the equipment that is used to create the opening is not scrupulously cleaned and sterilized between uses.
Some of the symptoms you should observe on an infected ear piercing bump are tenderness, a yellow discharge, redness, and some swelling. As we have said above, the major cause of infection is piercing the ears with unsterile equipment, inserting unsterile posts, or frequently touching the earlobes with dirty hands.

Infected Cartilage Ear Piercing

Ear cartilage piercing is also trending these days. However, I read somewhere that is one of those piercings that are very painful. Some researches done in America have revealed that people can lose their ears cartilages if the ear piercing practice is not done in good condition or by a rightful person. For me, think this should be enough to help you know the need to treat an infected cartilage piercing immediately as well as the need to go to a professional piercer.
In short, piercings on the upper part of the ear, the cartilage, are much more dangerous than earlobe piercings and they are prone to infections that are much harder to treat since they hardly respond to antibiotics. Moreover, there is a higher prevalence of infection on cartilage than earlobe as research reveals. It is said that there is a 22 percent infection rate for body piercing overall and a 34 percent infection rate for cartilage piercing, according to ABC News.

Ear Piercing Infection Symptoms

Symptoms will help you to know if you have an infected ear piercing. Some of these symptoms may show up during the process of piercing. You need to know how old the piercing became compromised with infection for you strike the cause. The following are some common signs and symptoms you should be aware of your ear piercings.

  1. Redness around the piercing

This is one of the signs of an infection is marked by a noticeable change in color especially around the earring hole. Redness involved with persistent pain should be taken seriously. Sometimes there may be inflamed streaks or thread-like marks or lines that radiate from round the infected ear piercing.

  1. Swelling and discharges

Secondly, it is expected that slight swelling should occur after you have pierced your ear. It could be pierced earlobes or cartilage. However, if the swelling does not subside after the second day, that could be dangerous. In some cases the swelling may extend to the glands in the neck region and you should have a sore feeling in your neck or jaw.
Swelling may be worsened by drainage from the piercing holes. A discharge with brown, grey, yellow-greenish color marked by a bad, foul smell will indicate there being an infection. Piercing experts have argued that a clear discharge is normal while your piercing is healing. This discharge would actually be lymph fluid.

  1. Bumps

Going on with signs to look for in an infected ear pierce, are formation of bumps especially when they appear reddened. This is less unlikely and not always the case as inflammation can develop at the site from irritation from the piercing rather than infection, according to some research findings

  1. Bleeding

Another sign to observe is blood oozing from your pierced ear site or earring hole bleeding. This sign/symptom can point out the fact that you may have a problem with earring material or complication or you injured it. Besides being an infected ear piercing on the earlobe symptom, bleeding excessively must not be taken lightly when it occurs frequently.

  1. Tenderness

Tenderness to touch in skin around the earlobe, conch or cartilage is another probable symptom of infections. Children will complain more because they have tendency to touch whenever they feel an increased sensitivity or irritation.

  1. Fever

This is a well-known common symptom of infection. Unless you have a cold or flu infection or other-related infections, fever should be a cause of worry when you are fine.
For you to know that you have an infected ear piercing is by checking out on the symptoms i.e. you are certainly going to know you have such an infection by looking at some of the pierced ear infection symptoms that can never miss. Some the common signs and symptoms to check for include:

  • Tenderness on the pierced site, kids might complain of this tenderness.
  • Swelling around the piercing site that persists 48 hours after a new piercing.
  • Infected ear piercing bleeding in extreme cases, especially for new piercings.
  • Discharges from the piercing that include pus that might be yellow or your piercing might “secrete thick, green, smelly pus” [].
  • A bump on earlobes that could be white or red.
  • Fever especially in children
  • Stuck earrings i.e. you will be unable to rotate them.

These are not the only infected ear lobe piercing signs or symptoms you might have. There are many others to check out for. By the way, your ears are very important. The moment you notice anything abnormal with your piercings, do not ignore them. Do not be like most people who tend to waiting until “infected ear piercing pus” starts oozing out before they begin looking for pierced ears infection treatment options.

Ear Piercing Infection Treatment

Treatment will rely on the information based on ear piercing symptoms. We shall focus on treatments provided by health centers and then how to treat pierced ear infections with home remedies.

  1. Antibiotics

There are two broad categories of these medications which include the non-prescription and strength prescription antibiotics.
Most of the topical drugs available at your locale or over the counter medications are non-prescribed. They are widely used on speculation that they cure minor infection symptoms like swelling. They include oral drugs, ointments and creams for instance, Neosporin. Before taking them to cure symptoms after piercing, patients are advised to ask relevant health practitioner for safety usage.
Considering it on the other way, prescription medicines will treat persistent infected ear piercing symptoms such

as fever, severe swelling, discharges, etc. These drugs must be taken under a doctor’s instruction only to control or cure severe signs and symptoms after ear piercing.

  1. Pain relievers

It involves use of drugs such as Aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen to kill pain that may accompany other symptoms. Note that pain killers do not guarantee cure for infections.
If you experience severe symptoms such as frequent pain, high fever and excessive bleeding you should see your doctor who will determine what the problem is and which best treatments that you need in case of an infection.
Treatment process
Recognizing the infection is the very first step for treating any infection. Before telling you how to treat an infected ear piercing, let me tell you how to recognize the infection and the factors that triggers the infection. Read on.
Infected ear piercing home remedies
When the signs of infections are minor home remedies should clear them in a few hours or days. Not all home remedies will help cure an infected pierced ear. Some are only take away symptoms.

  1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is safe and easy to use at home. It contains an antiseptic property to fight germs and bacteria. You can apply tea tree oil as an alternative best of aspirin or chamomile tea as natural treatment.

  1. Sea salt solution (home-made saline)

After receiving medication, you can soak your infected earlobe piercing in a warm solution of non-iodized salt. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to shot glass of warm water.

  1. Rubbing alcohol

Apart from using alcohol to clean a piercing while enhancing healing, this product can help to clear symptoms by keeping infection causing germs at bay. Apply rubbing alcohol in front and at the back of infected earlobes.
NOTE: avoid using rubbing alcohol to clean newly pierced ear in order to quicken healing.

  1. Warm/cold compress

A warm compress is ideal to bring down swelling and infected ear piercing bumps especially if the pierced ear is aching. On the other hand, apply a cold compress when you feel mild pain but not on a piercing wound symptomatic of bleeding.
Ear piercing care
Learning how to take care of a piercing is important whether it is an infected pierced ear or free of infection signs and symptoms. Practicing proper ear piercing care will not only be prevention against occurrence of an infection but will also promote quicker healing and greatly help an infected pierced ear. You should observe piercing care for good health more so your baby and children.

  1. Cleaning

This is something you should do routinely (daily) regardless of a newly pierced, healing or old piercing. The best cleaning solutions should have been given by your piercer and it is expected that you follow the recommended procedures. However, you need to use saline, alcohol or an antibiotic solution. Before you touch your ears ensure your hands are clean and dry.
Using small cotton swabs, apply saline or alcohol in front and behind the piecing sites. Ensure you do not cause mush disturbance to the studs, bar or earring while cleaning fresh piercing wounds.
Do not use alcohol or solutions containing alcohol if you have increased sensitivity in skin. This may lead to further irritation make skin around new piercing become more inflamed. Another caution you must take is never use alcohol or allows children with piercing use alcohol.

  1. Anti-bacterial solutions (soaps)

This solution is what every kind of body piercing requires to keep infection causing microorganisms away from the wounds. Besides being a common cleaning agent for hands as well as the pierced sites.

  1. Do not remove the ear jewelry

Removing can easily contaminate or cause germs being transferred to the earring bars leading to infection in earring hole after placement. Besides, it may cause unnecessary injury and lead to bleeding. Unless it is an old piercing or you are instructed to remove ear jewelry in order to clean properly, leave them alone.

  1. Avoid causing injury

Be careful while removing your tops and avoid clothes with loose strips (strings). Otherwise get used to wearing shirts, open (zipped) tops or with buttons.

  1. Keep tidy

Wash your hair regularly and protect it from coming into contact with your new piercing. Moms should also keep your daughter’s hair clean or short.
Keep off swimming pools for at least 2 to 3 weeks to allow for efficient healing especially if you have any kind of ear cartilage piercing.

How to Treat an Infected Ear Piercing without it closing

While treating your ear piercing or when taking care of it, you may realize that yes it healed but the hoe closed. No one would want to undergo piercing process over and over. Therefore, there are steps you can follow to avoid closing the hole in the name of treatment. You can treat minor infections at home by keeping the infected area clean and using sea salt soaks to draw out irritants. However you can follow the steps below while caring for your infected piercing:
Step 1
While the first earrings are intact, use antibacterial or antimicrobial soap to wash your hands to avoid introducing new bacteria to the infected area. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with the soap.
Step 2
Make a solution of 1 tbsp. of non-iodized sea salt in 8 ounces of warm distilled water
Step 3
Soak the infected ear piercing in the salt solution for three to five minutes. If possible, fill a small cup with the solution and submerge the infected lobe. If this is uncomfortable or you have an attached earlobe that makes this difficult, soak sterile gauze or cotton swabs in the solution and apply generous amounts of the solution to the infected area.
Step 4
Rinse your ear piercing with clean, warm water and dry with a clean paper towel. Do not use a hand towel or washcloth because they can transfer germs to the wound.
Step 5
You can repeat this method at least once a day in conjunction with your regular cleaning regimen until the infection clears.
More references

  1. How to heal cartilage piercing bumps:
  2. How to drain infected earlobe piercing:
  3. How to treat an infected piercing: