Ear Piercing Infection: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Ear piercing has always been part of human cultures, fashion, and lives since the ancient times. From medical perspectives, it does not lead to any life threatening health condition, but it may result in ears’ vulnerability to diseases such as ear piercing infection. An overview of this health problem is described below.


There are actually various symptoms associated with ear infection from piercing. After creating an opening in the ears, you may encounter some small unhealthy symptoms including redness and inflammation. If those are left untreated, they may lead to worse conditions.

1. Redness

In almost all cases, redness after creating ear piercing is normal. It is also often followed by an occurrence of swelling in the area near the opening. Redness and swelling will normally subside within 2 to 3 days. Nonetheless, if those problems are associated with sharp pain and inflammation, it is suggested that you consult piercer, or if necessary, doctor. Redness can be either normal or initial symptom of infection.

2. Burning Pain

Besides redness, burning pain is as well a normal symptom as a result of ear piercing. In normal condition, burning pain is expected to subside in 6 to 7 days. If it does not relieve within a week, it can be a symptom of infection. Therefore, it should be immediately treated before the conditions gets worse.

3. Inflammation

ear pierced infectionSimilar to redness and swelling, the occurrence of inflammation in the pierced site is actually expected. The proper procedure of ear piercing should indeed cause slight inflammation, but this problem should go away within a week or two.

It is possible that the piercer cannot make any diagnose concerning the condition. He/she will not be able to recommend certain treatment procedure or medication. You should only seek advice from professional medical practitioner such as doctors or physicians.

4. Fever

If fever attacks after you have your ears pierced, infection should be greatly anticipated. In such case, you need to consult doctor. Medication is often necessary to prevent further health problems.


If the procedure is properly done, ear piercing infection is highly unlikely to occur. As mentioned earlier, redness and inflammation are actually normal. These conditions should subside immediately within 3 days. The possibility of infection is affected by many factors including the equipment, types of earrings, and more.

1. Unsterilized equipment

Diseases such as ear piercing infection, HIV, and hepatitis are possibly transferred during the procedure, especially when the piercer uses unsterilized instrument. Even worse, the piercer uses the same instruments for different people.

2. Improper care

Inexperienced or newly pierced person possibly treats the holes (pierced sites) recklessly. It is not recommended to frequently touch the hole, especially with dirty hands. Bacteria and other micro-organism may easily transfer from an organ to another through these touches. Bacteria will trigger infection.

3. Tight earrings

Although the initial wound on the pierced site has been healed, infection can still occur. Wearing tight earrings or tight clasp can block blood flow to the ears. With insufficient supply of nutrients, an organ is vulnerable to diseases including infection.

4. Rough area on earring

There are countless shapes of earrings available. To avoid infection, you should not wear certain earrings that feature rough surfaces. As you move, walk, sleep, and exercise, the earrings will continuously scratch the skin. Repeated scratches may open new wound, which lead to infections.


Fortunately, there are many possible methods to treat infection of pierced ears. Some of the most recommended treatments are listed as follows.

1. Consult doctor

As soon as the symptoms appear, you should immediately consult doctors or physicians. There is a possibility that the infection occurs in Perichondrium. This health disorder is medically called perichondritis. The most common indications are the existences of swelling and pain. The condition requires immediate medical treatment; otherwise it may spread to infect the entire ear area.

2. Home remedies

For mild to moderate condition, you can also perform some home treatments by using non-iodized salt and warm water. Mix both compounds with 1:8 ratio then dip your ears in the mixture for approximately 5 minutes four times a day. You can also use a small ice cube to gently rub the infected area in order to reduce inflammation.


Ear piercing is considered important part of the fashion, so it basically depends on individuals’ preferences whether such thing is necessary. You should know that without proper treatments, infection frequently occurs on pierced sites. To avoid ear piercing infection, make sure that the piercer uses sterilized equipment. If infection symptoms appear, you should immediately consult doctors or ask advice from the piercer.