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What to do when your piercing gets infected

The inflammation around a piercing can happen when there is a change in the healing process, causing pain, swelling and redness more intense than normal.

The treatment of inflamed piercing should preferably be guided by a nurse or general practitioner, according to the type of wound and degree of inflammation, and it is recommended to keep the place clean and dry, avoiding moisture and sweat, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics.

What to do when your piercing gets infected

How to care of a swollen piercing

If you feel that the area around a piercing is swollen, it is necessary to follow some precautions, like:

  1. Wash the area about 2 times a day with soap and water. The soap may be neutral or antibacterial;
  2. Avoid leaving the region wet, with sweat or accumulation of secretions. Another important tip is to use airy clothes made of natural fabric, if the piercing is covered;
  3. Avoid rubbing the piercing against clothing or accessories;
  4. Clean the area with saline solution and cotton. You can also use a homemade solution, made with 250 ml of lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon of salt;
  5. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, nimesulide or ketoprofen, for example, help to improve pain and swelling;
  6. Be careful with food because there are types of food that can make healing difficult, such as sweets, soft drinks, fried foods and sausages. Anti-inflammatory foods can help in the treatment of piercing infection, such as saffron and garlic, for example.

When inflammation does not improve with these care, it is recommended you see a general practitioner, as it may be necessary to start treatment with tablet antibiotics, such as cephalexin, or in ointment, such as Diprogenta or Trok-G, for example.

In the case of piercing inflammation in the mouth, such as tongue or lip, in addition to these cautions, it is important to eat soft food to help decrease discomfort and pain. 

Do not use products such as honey, slug or other homemade ointments, as they can accumulate dirt in the area and disrupt healing. Products such as alcohol, iodine or hydrogen peroxide, because they cause irritation, should only be used in cases of larger wounds requiring dressings, directed by the nurse or general practitioner.

What to do when your piercing gets infected

How to avoid inflammation

To avoid inflammation at the piercing site, it is important for you not to rub clothing or accessories on it, prevent sweat from building up, keep the place dry and clean and avoid going to swimming pools, lakes or the sea until the wound is fully healed. When cleaning the area, it is recommended you touch the jewelry with caution, always with your hands clean, to avoid accumulation of secretions that can facilitate the infection.

The placement of the piercing should always be done in a reliable place, as the use of contaminated material can cause serious infections. See more ways to avoid your piercing getting infected.

How to know if the piercing is infected

After doing a piercing, whether in the navel, nose, ear or mouth, it is normal for it to look swollen for about 2 days, with localized redness, clear discharge, and a little pain. However, some signs may indicate exaggerated inflammation or even infection, such as:

  • Redness or swelling that does not improve in 3 days;
  • Surrounding skin very red and swollen;
  • Very intense or unbearable pain;
  • Presence of pus, with white, yellowish or greenish discharge, or blood in the area;
  • Presence of fever or malaise.

In the presence of these signs and symptoms, the emergency room should be searched for treatment with anti-inflammatory and antibiotics prescribed by the general practitioner.

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