Infected ear piercing: Symptoms, treatment, and prevention

An infected ear piercing can also develop years after a person got the original piercing. Usually, the infections are minor, and people can treat them at home without complications.

Touching the piercing too often with dirty hands or not cleaning the area can lead to infections. Also, earrings that are too tight may not allow the wound to breathe and heal.

In this article, learn about the symptoms of an infected ear piercing, as well as the treatment options, and how to prevent infections in the future.


Symptoms of an infected ear piercing include:

  • swelling
  • redness
  • pain
  • tenderness
  • burning
  • itching
  • yellow discharge

The symptoms of infections in old piercings are the same as in new ones.

To treat an infection in an old piercing, people should clean the earring and both sides of the ear with saline solution, and handing it with clean hands.

If the infection does not improve, spreads, or fever occurs, a person should seek medical attention.

If signs or symptoms of infection happen often, people should consider buying only hypoallergenic jewelry, as they may be reacting to the earrings.

When to remove a piercing

If a new piercing is infected, it is best not to remove the earring. Removing the piercing can allow the wound to close, trapping the infection within the skin. For this reason, it is advisable not to remove an earring from an infected ear unless advised by a doctor or professional piercer.

Once the wound has healed — usually after 2 to 3 months in the case of earlobe piercing or longer in cartilage piercings — a person can safely remove an earring.


When getting a new earring, it is crucial that people have this done by a professional piercer with excellent hygiene practices. Also, they must always follow the aftercare instructions carefully until the wound has healed.

Most infected ear piercings can be treated at home and will improve within a few days, although, in some cases, antibiotics may be necessary. If symptoms do not improve, the infection spreads, or there are other symptoms, a person should speak to a doctor.

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