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Video:How to Care for an Infected Piercing

with Allison Lahikainen

Whenever you get a piercing, it is extremely important to properly care for the piercing, lest it get infected. Here are some steps to take if your piercing does become infected.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Care for an Infected Piercing

Hi, I'm Allison Lahikainen for About.com, and today, we're going to talk about how to care for an infected piercing. We're here at Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls, New York.

How to Know if a Piercing Is Infected

A piercing will tend to be sore for the first couple of weeks after getting done. After that, things should start to calm down. Getting a little bit of discharge is normal, having a little of swelling is normal, a little bit of redness is normal. But, two weeks, three weeks in, if that seems to be flaring up more or not getting better, go see your piercing professional. There's always a chance a body product is getting into it, or, if you touch it a lot, that's not good either. Signs that your piercing isn't doing as well as it should include excess swelling, excess heat around the piercing, a lot of pain, or a lot of discharge that could be yellow, green or foul smelling.

Ways to Treat an Infected Piercing

It's important to follow the aftercare instructions that your piercer gives you. Generally, they'll give you a brochure or a piece of paper where every step is outlined, like how you should clean it, what you should do and what you shouldn't do. If you're following the instructions to a "T" and you're still having problems, go see your piercer. They can generally help evaluate what is going on with your piercing and the best course of action. Depending on the problem going on, your piercer will recommend a few different options. Sometimes, a sea salt soap can be calming to the body part; other times, we'll recommend tea tree oil, but again, it all depends on your problem and we won't know until we see the piercing. Most of the products we'll recommend to help take care of irritation, you can find at a health food store or at a drug store or a super market.

See a Doctor if Piercing Gets Worse

It's hard to get a genuine infection. You have to have some neglect going on or interact with some sort of bacteria that gets out of control. Most piercings can get irritated due to body products, touching it with dirty hands and coming in contact with pets. So, if you're having problems, go see your piercer. If it's general irritation, they can tell you the best course of action. Piercers aren't doctors. We will give you a general time line, depending on your irritation, of maybe a few days to a week, and if it doesn't seem to get better, then we'll recommend seeing your doctor. But never take it into your own hands. If you're uncomfortable, just go to the doctor. If you follow these tips, caring for an infected piercing can be simple and easy.

To learn more about this and other piercing topics, please visit About.com. Thanks for watching.
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