How to Heal an Infected Ear Piercing

How to Heal an Infected Ear Piercing

By Jacqueline Burke

How to Heal an Infected Ear Piercing

 An infected ear piercing can be extremely painful and can even end with a visit to the doctor if it gets too bad.  If your piercing has developed an infection, it’s best to start treating it early.  Before you start treating the pain, it’s important to deduce whether you are actually suffering from an ear piercing an infection or an earring allergy.

Infection or Allergy?

One of the major things to look for is whether the symptoms are in one ear or both. If you have developed an earring allergy, you will most likely have very similar symptoms in both ears that develop at the same time. If you have an infection, it is more likely to only occur in one piercing.  Some other hallmark symptoms of an ear piercing infection are redness, a yellow pus-like discharge, swelling, and pain.  Additionally, the symptoms of an earring allergy will go away very quickly after the earring is removed. In the case of an infection, just removing the earring will not clear up the symptoms.

How to Treat Your Infected Ear Piercing

Follow these steps to treat your infected ear piercing at home:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your ear piercing area
  • Do not remove the earring because this can cause the bacteria to become trapped in your piercing
  • Rinse your ear piercing using a saline or salt water solution twice a day. To create a salt water solution, combine 1/4 tsp salt with 8 oz of distilled water. Warm up the water, then soak a clean cotton round in the solution and apply it to your ear piercing for at least 30 seconds.
  • Pat dry and apply an antibiotic solution
  • Gentry turn the piercing twice a day so that it does not become stuck to the skin

When to See a Doctor

It is very important to monitor your symptoms to determine if you need to see a doctor. If any of these symptoms occur you should seek out medical care: 

  • The infection does not improve with home treatment within two days
  • You develop a fever
  • The earring doesn’t move
  • The earring back is embedded in the ear
  • The redness and/or swelling spreads beyond the piercing site


Mayo Clinic

Health Line


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