A piercing is a small hole in a part of the body made to insert jewelries. According to Painful Pleasures, there are seven main types of piercings, namely: ear piercings, oral and facial piercings, lip piercings, surface piercings, navel piercings, female, and male genital piercings.


Taking care of your piercings is crucial because if unattended, these may lead to infections. If you have cartilage piercings, you have to be extra careful as these usually take a longer time to heal and are more prone to infections. There are a lot of people who experience infections, mainly because they did not follow aftercare instructions.

Infections may develop immediately after the piercing, but sometimes it may also develop after one or two years after getting the piercing. Oftentime, minor infections can be treated at home through saline solution. It is safe to say that once an infection lasts more than a month, you should go to your doctor immediately.

How Do I Know If I’m Infected?

The symptoms of an infected piercing are:

  • Swelling - The area where you got your piercing may became abnormally enlarged.
  • Itchiness - The urge to scratch the affected area will only increase, but make sure to avoid doing so because it may only promote further irritation.
  • Redness - The surrounding of your piercing will appear to be red. This is usually accompanied by a burning sensation.
  • Tenderness - Touching the area, or even the skin around it is touched, will be painful.
  • Discharge - It is common that something yellow, or pus, is released by the pierced area.

Preventing Infections

The best prevention measure that you can do to avoid getting an infection is to get a piercing from a professional. Make sure that the establishment you go to is sanitary and has all the right permits.

A vital aftercare instruction is to clean the affected area twice a day with sterile saline water. Simply mix salt and warm water to make sure that no bacteria or microbe is near your pierced appendage. Make sure to never play or handle the jewelry with dirty hands because bacteria will transfer from you hand to your piercing. Lastly, when you are sleeping, it is best to avoid laying on the pierced area. For ear piercings, this means that you would need to sleep only one side for a few months.

If a piercing infection is not treated, an abscess or a build up of pus may form around the piercing. If this is left further untreated, there may even be a need to do surgery. In other cases, it could even lead to blood poisoning, sepsis, or toxic shock syndrome. All of this is caused by bacteria getting inside your body, through the piercing, and releasing harmful toxins.

DIY Treatments

You can easily treat minor infections at home. However there are some infections that are harder to manage and may need prescribed antibiotics. Hospitalization may even occur if a person has a severe infection.


For minor infections, here are some tips to take care of your piercing:

  1. Make sure you have washed your hands before touching, holding, and cleaning the accessory
  2. Use sterile saline water in cleaning the piercing, do it three times a day
  3. Do not remove the accessory as this may allow the hole to close and trap the infection inside

Remember that you immediately need to see a doctor if: the infection does not improve for the next few days, if you are experiencing a fever along with the infection, when the infection spreads even more, or if the accessory is not moving and becomes embedded in the skin.


Doctors are the best people to approach if you want to get your infection treated or even if you want to get a new piercing! Book an appointment now on SeeYouDoc, and have access to browse through our general physicians, pediatricians, and more!