Ear piercing is a somewhat ancient practice with plenty of benefits. There’s a reason why
millions of people across the globe have piercings on their ears and in other places as well.
However, there are health risks when it comes to piercing that you need to be aware of before
going through with the process. The last thing you want is to get a piercing infection and have to
suffer through that often painful process.
A piercing infection is when bacteria or germs make their way into your healing piercing.
Learning how to avoid this type of infection, and how to notice the early signs of one, will be
important if you plan to get a piercing anytime soon.
What do you need to look out for? Keep reading and we'll walk you through what you need to
Warning Signs of a Piercing Infection
Early Signs of an Infected Piercing
You’ve taken the leap and gone ahead and gotten your ear, nose, or other body part pierced. It’s
exciting, but there’s still a window of healing time before you’ll be able to enjoy it.
Generally speaking (though everyone is different) a new piercing can take anywhere from six to
eight weeks to properly heal. During these healing weeks, the area that you had pierced is likely
to still be overly tender, red, and itchy.
The area will still be recovering and you might even experience some light pain, especially when
pressure is applied.
If you’ve got a cartilage piercing, this healing period can actually even be longer. Cartilage
piercings can take up to four months to properly heal.
This redness, soreness, and pain can be a normal part of the healing process, which is why it
might be harder to tell when something is more seriously wrong with your piercing.
What can you look out for in order to tell that you might have an infection, instead of normal
pains of healing?
1. Increasing Redness or Swelling
If your piercing is getting increasingly red instead of less red with time, this might be one sign.
If swelling is going up instead of down over time, this is another indication that you might have a
bacterial infection. If the area starts to bleed regularly for no reason, that's another sign you’ll
want to take into account.
2. Piercing is Warm
Temperature can also be a big giveaway when it comes to piercing infections.
If your piercing is warm, hot, and throbbing constantly, it might be a sign that bacteria has taken
hold. You should be able to tell this by simply holding your hand up to the site and feeling the
temperature as compared to other areas of your body.
3. Pus of Various Colors
The more serious sign of piercing infection? If you start to notice pus of various colors emitting
from the area of the piercing, this is an almost for-sure sign that an infection has taken hold.
Pus often will be either white, yellow, or green depending on the variety of bacteria or germ that
has gotten into the site.
If you notice pus, it’s a reason to reach out to a medical professional immediately and seek help.
4. Fever and Chills
A piercing infection can affect the health of the whole body. The other serious sign of infection
to look out for is if you are coming down with fever or chills.
This means the infection has reached a fairly serious level of damage and that your body is
having a hard time fighting it. Again, you’ll want to reach out to a doctor as soon as possible.
What To Know About Piercing Infection
It doesn’t matter where on your body you got your piercing done. There is always a risk of
infection, and that infection can include serious issues such as tetanus and hepatitis B or C.
Yes, some areas of the body might be more prone to infections than others. High-rim ear
piercings often are the most common area for infections to occur because there is less blood
flowing through the area, for example.
However, there is no area that is completely risk-free when it comes to piercing infections. While
a cute nose piercing might be a good idea, it doesn’t mean you can get it done without having to
take precautions when it comes to infections.
Piercing Aftercare and Infection Management
What should you do if you have an infection?
First and foremost, go ahead and wash your hands with soap and water before touching anything.
You don’t want to make the situation worse by adding more germs and bacteria to the infected
The best at-home care you can manage is likely creating a saline solution. To do this, dissolve
1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution and then apply it gently
to the affected area.
If you have any over-the-counter treatments, such as Neosporin, apply these following this
cleaning process. This process will work for minor infections.
However, if the infection does not seem to lessen or gets worse, you’ll still want to take the time
to visit a medical professional.
What To Do if Piercing Hurts
A piercing infection is not fun and it’s something that should be avoided at all costs if possible.
You’ll want to stay vigilant and ensure you aren’t facing an infection in the weeks following a
The above information can help you stay on top of what to look out for during this time, and
what steps to take if you do find yourself the victim of a bacterial infection.
Need more health advice and info? Keep scrolling our blog for more.