While pain and tenderness are usually the first signs you’ll notice, these are not the only ways to tell that there’s something bad going on with your piercing. Keep in mind that infection or inflammation may start even before you can feel pain. This is why it’s so important to observe your piercing regularly to notice any potential early changes. It is particularly important for new piercings during the healing time, but even old, healed piercings can be affected.
There are several important warning signs you should not ignore. If you notice any of these, it’s a sign that something is going on. It may not be dangerous or too serious, but it’s important to keep an eye on your piercing and to do some measures to remedy the problem. In case the problem persists, you need to consult your doctor.
Here are the usual warning signs that will show that your piercing is infected:
- Swelling. Swelling is a typical sign of infection. While some swelling is normal on new piercings, it should go away quickly. If the swelling persists, or if your older piercing gets swollen, it’s a sign that something is going on.
- Redness. Redness of the skin is another sign that infection might be underway. Redness is also a common sign of other common problems, such as allergies. It is important to check your piercing regularly to notice any color changes of the skin around piercing.
- Itchiness. Itchiness is another common sign of infections and allergic reactions. If it persists, it’s important to address the problem and see what’s going on. In some cases, changing jewelry might help. It’s important to choose body jewelry made of medical-grade, body-safe materials. Avoid jewelry with harmful alloys, such as nickel. For example, if you wish to use gold jewelry, make sure that the gold used is nickel-free.
- Yellowish fluid. If you notice a bad-smelling fluid coming from the hole, it’s a clear sign of infection. Such infection is well underway so you should seek medical help immediately. You need to treat the infection as soon as possible or it will cause even more harm and endanger your health.
- Discomfort. General discomfort on the pierced area is usually the first sign that something is going on. You should never ignore it. Check out your piercing if it suddenly feels uncomfortable or if your new piercing fails to ever become comfortable. While it might not happen due to infection, you need to know what is going on.
- Pain. Pain is another common symptom, and usually the reason why people pay attention to their piercing. Pain is a clear sign that something is not right, so you should consult your doctor immediately. In case of a new piercing, don’t wait too long before you consult your doctor. While a new piercing can be expected to hurt in hours after procedure, the pain should go away quickly (usually within a day). In case the pain persists, consult your doctor. In the case of old, healed piercings, pain is a sign that there is a problem underway. However, you should do your best to catch any sign of infection even before it causes pain. This is the best way to treat the problem as soon as it arises.
Keep in mind that there may be other problems associated with your piercing. Improper procedures done in unsanitary spaces are more likely to end in infections and they also put you at risk of contracting a disease. This is why it’s important to choose a safe, reliable piercing studio.
Another problem you may encounter are mechanical damages made by jewelry. Jewelry can push against the skin. Oral piercings, such as tongue piercings, may lead to a chipped tooth or gum damage. It is therefore important to make sure that your jewelry is positioned properly.
It is also important to use only high-quality jewelry made of body-friendly materials. Pay attention to jewelry design: is it suitable for your type of piercing? If jewelry is too thin, it can cut through the skin. If it’s too short, it will press your skin and scar tissue may even form on top of it. Also, cheap jewelry can break easily, which is particularly dangerous for nose and oral piercings because jewelry pieces can be inhaled or swallowed on accident.