PIERCING INFECTIONS

by Sheweta Dhanuka

Piercing is highly susceptible to infection in case of ignorance during the healing process. Even after the healing is complete few safety measures are still must to be practiced for the entire life. This article explains about all possible facts and information about piercing.

Body piercing is very stylish and contemporary. Women as well as men are getting their ear and nose pierced since thousands of years but according to the most modern fashion almost all the organs of body are open for this trendy modus operandi. Teenagers fascinated by the hottest craze and style are seen with their eyebrows, lips, navel and tongue pierced. It could be multiple rings or studs around or inside the body part. Other than teens many adults are enthusiastic about this unique art. They associate piercing as their individual style statement that describes their respective personality as fashionable and modish.

This new style is indeed only one of its kind and coolest mania in fashion at this moment in time. However, it might be quite painful if apposite care and precautions are not taken after piercing any of the body organs. It is highly susceptible to infection in case of ignorance during the healing process. Even after the healing is complete few safety measures are still must to be practiced for the entire life. This article explains about all possible facts and information about piercing. It starts from types or piercing, symptoms of infection, reasons & solutions and precautions. It would positively accustom the reader with this inimitable art on body.

Various Body Piercing Infections

Navel Piercing Infections

It is also called as button belly piercing. This piercing is the most difficult and painful piercing. It is the most sensitive body organ and extremely prone to the piercing infection. Once it is pierced it can get infected any time. There are high probable chances that soon after the piercing there is no infection but it might happen months or years after. The wound at navel requires longest time duration to heal amongst all other body piercing. It varies from one person to another but on an average it could be between 4 months to 2 years.

Simple cotton clothes are idyllic for the healing process while fabrics that create moisture or friction should be avoided as it might cause infection. Individuals who had their navel pierced must be very cognizant while wearing waistbands or belts. If precautions are not taken while wearing these accessories then it could easily get caught in the piercing and damage it. Such incidents surely lead to terrible pain and finally the infection.

Tongue Piercing Infections

This piercing requires maximum care after the healing. Regular use of either herbal or antiseptic mouthwash twice or thrice in a day is must to stay away from infection in future. After every meal mouth should be clean thoroughly and ensure that none of the food particle gets stuck in the jewelry piece. Also ingestion of alcohol and spicy food need to be minimized. Even oral contact with any other person should be avoided. Healing time for tongue piercing is between 20-25 days.

The piercing jewelry used must be small and light weight else it might damage the teeth. In case of swelling or redness to bring down the pain ice could be used. During the healing the tongue should be gently brushed. As mouth is full of bacteria, some oral antibiotics are ideal for quick healing.

Lips Piercing infections

It is relatively least common amongst all different types of body piercing. Upper lip as well as lower lip could be pierced. It is healed faster than the tongue piercing only when precautions are taken with respect to food, liquids and smoking. Spicy food, alcohol and smoking need to be minimized as much as possible during the healing time. Regular use of homemade saline solution enables an early recovery and wards off the chances of infection. After every meal one should mouthwash with this solution. It can be prepared by mixing 1/8 tsp sea salt in one cup warm water. Appropriate jewelry should be selected else wrong jewelry selection could damage teeth as well as gums.

Ear Piercing Infections

The safest body organ with respect to piercing is ear. It requires minimum care and precautions. In country like India 98% females and 25% of males have their earlobes pierced at the gold smith shop or through gunshot. Chances for any type of infection are relatively rare. Healing is complete within the short span of 15-20days. During this period the piercing must be clean with the mild soap and antibiotic ointment should be applied after bath and before going to bed. Also the pierced jewelry either ring or stud must be rotated or moved forward & backward respectively. This would avoid the jewelry piece getting tucked in the dry pus.

The pierced jewelry should be worn for the first 30 days. Once the healing is complete, it can be changed. Initially lightweight gold earrings should be worn then after any metal earring can be selected as desired. Always ensure to wear some jewelry piece at least for the first one and half year. As in this time period piercing tends to get close. Piercing done apart from earlobes is more painful and takes longer time to heal. Some people get the ear pierced from top to bottom. They should be extra careful with these places, as it is more delicate than the earlobes.

Nose Piercing Infections

Nose piercing is gaining popularity is west at a very rapid pace. It takes longer time for healing. The first 20-25 days are very important as near the pierced hole one lump might be formed. With hot fermentation the lump reduces and is evaded. The probability of infection is less but if the gunshot piercing is done then there are more chances of infection. One more important aspect with nose piercing is lubrication of the piercing. That is, coconut oil and lavender oil should be applied at least once in a day so that it remains soft.

Eyebrow Piercing Infections

It is a simple piercing same like ear and nose piercing. However, one cannot change the jewelry frequently as in ear. It is not highly prone to infection as navel piercing but general piercing precautions and care is must be taken. This piercing is more common in west than other parts of the universe.

Symptoms of Infections

Many innocent people think infection and allergy is same. This is not true. Infection is different from allergic reactions. The symptom of allergy is burning sensation around the piercing. Some typical kind of irritation is experienced as if the jewelry is being pulled out. No matter whether it is allergy or infection the doctor must be consulted without delay. There are three main symptoms of infections viz. swelling, redness and discharge.

Swelling

The area around the piercing blows out like a balloon. It might be painful too but it looks very different than the normal. The swollen skin becomes very sensitive. Slight touch to that skin causes pain.

Redness

As the name specifies, the piercing and the area around it becomes red. Redness is clearly identified being different from the skin colour. More the red the skin worse is problem.

Discharge

It is said to be discharge when yellow colored semi-liquid comes out from the piercing wound. It is not fully liquid like water but partial. It is referred as pus. Sometimes it could also be light green colour. Pus is discharged when healing is incomplete and urgently requires some medication.

Reasons and Solutions of Infection

There are few common reasons due to which infection is caused. These are very careless acts done by a common person. It is mentioned as careless because people are not cautious of their act. These reasons that are the foremost root of infection are discussed along with the solutions to avoid the same or overcome the undesired problems.

01 : The main reason for piercing infection is the jewelry material. Skin of each individual is different so it reacts differently to the piercing material used. People who are allergic to jewelry material bear higher chances of getting the infection. The piercing material is often plated with brass that causes allergic reactions leading to infection.
01 : Merely high surgical grade 14K or 18K yellow gold should be used in order to avoid the infection caused due to jewelry material. Good quality stainless steel, niobium or titanium are other options. Silver and brass must strictly be avoided in every respect.

02 : In case partially healed piercing is damaged then it gets prone to infection. Also the healing process returns back to the stage one.
02 : The piercing should not be rubbed hard with any towel or napkin. It should always be done gently. When the jewelry is pulled out of the pierced hole, then the individual should go back to meet the person who did the piercing or meet the family doctor. Immediate action is very crucial to be taken especially with belly button, lips, nose and tongue piercing.

03 : Superfluous cleaning of the piercing might also cause infection. Excess washing destabilizes body’s ability to fend off infection. Further, complete ignorance towards cleaning undoubtedly causes infection.
03 : It must be clean only 2-3 times everyday. Hands should be washed before touching the pierce every single time. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt mixed in water must be applied with the soaked cotton ball 3-4 times at single moment. It cleans the dried bits that might result in inner dent. It could also be cleaned with soap. Only soap consisting antibacterial agents should be used. Apply it to the piercing jewelry, turn around the same through the pierce 2-3 times with the soft hand and wash it painstakingly with clean water. After cleaning wipe it fully with a clean soft towel/tissue. Finally, apply moisturizer containing negligible scents and animal fats. It should be ensured that no soap is left behind while cleaning else it would cause the irritation.

04 : Often people experience some irritation at the piercing. The irritation happens to be so uncontrollable that individual can’t resist touching it that instant without washing hands. Consequently it leads to infection. The reason for irritation could be either one of the following:1. Soap or moisturizer used contains irritating harsh substance.
2. Body organ that is pierced is unable to withstand the weight of piercing jewelry with respect to shape and size. It could be too big or fancy with unwanted beads.
3. Excessive force on the pierced area while sleeping, improper sitting or lying position and son on.
4. The residual water, soap, ointment or moisturizer while cleaning.
5. Disproportionate movement of the jewelry around piercing. On the contrary jewelry getting stuck and not moving.
04 : Irritation caused due to any of these reason could be solved by understanding the same and resolving it with the effective step. Like right kind of soap or moisturizer should be used. Small lightweight jewelry should be always selected for piercing. Simple the jewelry better it is, without any additional beads or gems. Cleaning precautions are ideal to be practiced. And last the most important; if the jewelry is stuck then antiseptic cream must be applied.

Precautions for avoiding infection

* Only the professionals who are trained to pierce step by step and follow the health & safety guidelines should do piercing. Self piercing or getting it done from a friend/relative is absolutely brutal as it may cause some sever infection or life threatening liver disease known as viral hepatitis.
* Irrespective of the any organ pierced, always sterile needle must be used else it might cause infectious atrocious disease called as contracting hepatitis. This disease spreads when infected blood or fluid in minute quantity comes in contact with the skin.
* Intake of proper balanced nutritious diet and multivitamins mainly vitamin C and zinc. Garlic in food items too is good healing component.
* Dirt free cloths must be worn. Also ensure the beading is neat and clean.
* Always have stress free mind and feel happy at heart & mind.
* When initially the jewelry at the any piercing is to be rotated, use lukewarm water and then do it.
* One should not remove the jewelry from the piercing else it would close especially button belly, tongue, lips and eyebrow. Ear and nose jewelry can be changed after a year or so.
* In case of any symptoms of infection as described above are experienced the one should immediately see the doctor, as these are the signs of infection. Sometimes, oral antibiotics are prescribed that must be strictly followed.
* Strong scents, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and animal fats present in soaps are injurious therefore must be avoided totally. It goes with moisturizer as well.
* Lukewarm dry compresses on the piercing alleviate irritation and gives relief to the pain. Any hot liquid or hot clean towel in a Ziploc bag placed on piercing for 1-12 minutes once in two hours proffers a huge liberation from pain and irritation. The reason for relief is steam from hot water/cloth increases blood circulation, reduces the swollen lump and dilutes the pus gathered around the piercing inside the body. Small thing to take care is that, little wetness that appears due to hot padding must be wiped off instantaneously with the clean tissue.

These are few important aspects to be cautious about else the healing is long-drawn-out. The healing is faster and complete if and only if the individual takes proper care and precautions. It is always said that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it is essential to be careful of all these defensive actions.

Body piercing is the amazing art. It could define one’s personality in an impressive manner. Every single thing in this entire universe has two faces one good and other bad. Similarly, body piercing too has a not so good face that is infection. One can deal with it positively by following all the mentioned advices and instructions. With little efforts one could enjoy fashionable art on their body for the rest of the life.

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