Lump behind baby ear piercing

Lump behind baby ear piercing DEFAULT

Ear Piercing in Young Children

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Signs of an Ear Piercing Infection & How to Treat an Infected Cartilage or Ear Bump in Draper, UT

Essentially, a piercing is essentially an open wound. In order for it to heal, an earlobe piercing usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Generally taking longer to heal and being more prone to infection, cartilage piercings take place on the harder part of your ear. Your ear piercing can get infected several ways. Today, we at the ENT Specialists would like to elaborate on ear piercing infections.

Causes of Ear Piercing Infection

Developing into an infection, any bacteria left to fester is a detriment. You can introduce an infection simply by touching your piercing with dirty hands or instruments. Not allowing room for the wound to breathe and heal, an infection can develop in the event the earrings are on too tightly. Should there be too much handling of the piercing or the post of the earring is rough, a piercing can also get infected. If the person piercing your ears didn’t use gloves, or if the posts themselves weren’t sterile an infection can also occur if unsterile instruments were used.

Ear Piercing Infection Signs

To identify an infected ear piercing, its fairly easy to notice the symptoms that include yellow, pus-like discharge; swelling; redness; ongoing pain or tenderness; and itching and burning.

How to Treat a Minor Ear Piercing Infection

You may be able to take care of it at home with minor infections. However, seek medical treatment if you’ve had a cartilage piercing and it seems infected. Oral antibiotics may be required as these infections can be difficult to treat. In severe infections, hospitalization may be necessary. To treat a minor infection, follow the steps below.
1) Before treating your infection, wash your hands well.
2) With a saltwater rinse, clean around the piercing 3 times a day. Be sure use a sterile saline or make it by mixing /4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of distilled water.
3) Avoid using hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or antibiotic ointments as they can impede the healing process and cause further skin irritation.
4) Do not take out the piercing, otherwise, you risk letting the hole close and trap infection.
5) On both sides of your earlobe, do not remove the piercing. With paper towels, pat the area dry. Do not use other materials or fibers can remain behind.
6) Continue this cleaning regimen twice a day until the piercing is totally healed once the infection appears to have cleared. Routine care is vital during the 6-8 weeks of healing for an initial piercing.

When to See an ENT Specialist for an Ear Infection

Make an appointment with an ENT specialist. As mentioned, a minor infection of an ear piercing can be treated at home successfully. However, if the following symptoms below develop, be sure to get medical assistance.
– A fever develops.
– Beyond the piercing site, the infection, or redness and inflammation, spreads.
– If within 2 days the infection doesn’t improve with home treatment.
– The earring is immovable.
– The earring clasp is embedded in your skin.
Remember, with proper care and cleaning, you can reduce the risk of ear piercing infections. In the event you experience an extreme case of infection, call ENT Specialists for assistance.

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ENT Specialists, Salt Lake City, UT

Phone (appointments): 801-203-0649|Phone (general inquiries): 801-268-4141

Address: 4000 S 700 E, Suite 10, Salt Lake City, UT84107

ENT Specialists, Murray, UT

Phone (appointments): 801-207-7165|Phone (general inquiries): 801-268-2822

Address: 5770 South 250 East, Suite 415, Murray, UT84107

ENT Specialists, Draper, UT

Phone (appointments): 801-251-1783|Phone (general inquiries): 801-260-3687

Address: 96 East Kimballs Lane, Ste 309 (Building 3), Draper, UT84020

ENT Specialists, Tooele, UT

Phone (appointments): 435-200-1043|Phone (general inquiries): 435-882-6448

Address: 491 N Main St, Tooele, UT84074

ENT Specialists, West Jordan, UT

Phone (appointments): 801-336-4244|Phone (general inquiries): 801-676-4236

Address: 8846 Redwood Road, Suite E-121, West Jordan, UT84088

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Infected piercings

An infected piercing can be serious if it's not treated quickly. Get immediate medical help if you think your piercing is infected.

What's normal for a new piercing

For the first few weeks a new piercing might:

  • be tender, itchy, and the surrounding area may look slightly red on white skin, or a little darker than usual on dark skin
  • produce a pale fluid that forms a crust

If you've had an ear or nose cartilage piercing, small lumps can sometimes form around the piercing.

The lumps, called granulomas, are trapped fluid. You can treat them by soaking a pad in warm water then holding the pad against them once a day.

Check if you have an infected piercing

Your piercing might be infected if:

  • the area around it is swollen, painful, hot, very red or dark (depending on your skin colour)
  • there's blood or pus coming out of it – pus can be white, green or yellow
  • you feel hot or shivery or generally unwell
Close-up photo of a person's ear lobe with a gold hoop earring. The ear lobe is red and swollen.


Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if:

  • you think your piercing might be infected

Leave your jewellery in (unless a doctor tells you to take it out).

Treatment for infected piercings

You may need antibiotics if your piercing is infected. This can be a cream, ointment, or tablets.

How to prevent infections in new piercings


  • choose a qualified, experienced and licensed piercer

  • clean your piercing twice a day

  • use warm, salty water to soften any crusting

  • gently turn the jewellery while cleaning the piercing

  • use a clean paper towel to dry the piercing

  • gargle with salty water or an alcohol-free mouthwash if you have a mouth piercing


  • do not do your own piercings (you're much more likely to get an infection)

  • do not use cotton wool to clean the piercing (use a cotton bud or pad)

  • do not pick at any crusting

  • do not twist or turn jewellery when the piercing is dry

  • do not use a towel to dry the piercing

  • do not have sex until a genital piercing has healed

  • do not have oral sex until a mouth piercing has healed

  • do not go swimming for the first 24 hours after a piercing

Things to ask your piercer

If you're thinking about getting a piercing, ask the piercer:

  • to explain what they're going to do
  • whether there are any risks
  • how to care for your piercing
  • how long it will take to heal

Page last reviewed: 16 April 2020
Next review due: 16 April 2023

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