Written by April Reinhardt (last updated May 13, 2019)
When I was in the eight grade, Mom allowed my sister and I to get our ears pierced. When I was in the eleventh grade, I thought it a good idea to get two more ear piercings on each ear. While the second piercing went well, the third piercing did not. The third piercing on my right ear swelled and became an angry red. I applied alcohol, yet kept the earring in place, knowing that if I removed the earring, the hole would close. I developed such a bad infection at the site that I went to the doctor. He removed the earring, applied antibiotic ointment, and told me not to put the earring back in. To this day, I have three holes in my left ear, and two in my right because the hole did, indeed, grow back together.
How do you treat an infected ear piercing, without allowing the hole to grow back together? Follow these steps for doing just that:
Follow that regimen three times each day until the infection clears up. If it is a new piercing, you can leave the earring out of the hole for a few hours, but it's best to reinsert it overnight. When you wake in the morning, clean the wound as described above.
If you have an old piercing that has become infected, remove the earring and clean the hole on both sides of the ear using hot water and soap. Apply alcohol to the piercing with a cotton swab. Perform that measure three times each day. Do not reinsert the earring until the infection clears up. You can also apply a warm compress to the infected piercing, antibiotic ointment, and hydrogen peroxide. Make sure that you wear earrings made of pure gold or silver, and not base metal. Many people are sensitive to inexpensive earrings since they contain nickel. An allergic reaction to base metal can cause an infection.
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