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Is Burning Pain Or Fluid Discharge An Indicator Of Infection In A Newly Pierced Ear?

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Among the several options for body piercing, ear piercing is the most common type. The approach for ear piercing may be cultural practice or just to flaunt jewelery for style. Since piercings are made in exposed body parts such as the ear, it requires less time for healing as compared to other different types of body piercings, such as the belly button, navel and tongue. Also, the chances of unusual complications are rare in case of ear piercings.

Infection associated with ear piercings occur rarely, if the procedure is conducted by a qualified piercer and the aftercare tips are followed correctly. Without infections and other unusual signs, ear piercing healing takes about 6-8 weeks. Nevertheless, with any type of injury, there are risks for infections after ear piercing. Having a thorough knowledge about the causes of ear piercing infection and infected ear piercing symptoms will help you in getting over the painful complications.

Infected Ear Piercing Causes

An infected ear piecing can be caused due to any of the reasons; unsterilized piercing instruments, very tight earring and not following aftercare tips. After the ear piercing procedure, the pierced area should be cleaned daily with a saline solution. You can rotate the earrings as per the directions of the piercer. Also, you may be restricted from removing the jewelery for the first 3-4 weeks, when the skin is in the process of healing. Failure to follow these tips will increase the risk of an infected ear piercing. With infected ear piercing, healing time may be as long as several months. More on ear piercing aftercare.

Infected Ear Piercing Symptoms

The symptoms of infected ear piercing are manifested very shortly. At times, you may notice infection signs within 24-48 hours after the procedure. Besides ear piercing infection symptoms, there are certain signs that are manifested as a part of the regular healing process. Go through the following infected ear piercing symptoms, which will help you in identifying whether you have contracted an infection or not:


After the ear piercing procedure, reddening and swelling of the pierced site is normal to some extent. However, redness of the skin with associated symptoms like inflammation and sharp pain may be a sign of infection. If skin redness symptom does not subside even after after 2-3 days, then seek advice from the piercer.


One of the most significant infected ear piercing signs is swelling or inflammation in the pierced area. In such a case, you may feel a sense of heaviness and inflammatory symptoms in the ear piercing area. Consult a qualified doctor if the inflammation persists for more than one week.

Burning pain

Painful symptoms are normal after any type of body piercing. But, if pain does not subside within 5-6 days after ear piercing, then it may a symptom of infection. With an infected ear pierce, pain with burning and tingling sensation will increase gradually instead of reducing.


In case you run a high temperature or fever after getting your ear pierced, chances are high that you have developed an infection. Seek medical advice for combating fever, if the temperature remains above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the next two days.

Fluid Filled Blisters

Another infected ear piercing symptom is the development of fluid filled blisters in and around the hole. Do not open the pustules, as it can worsen the case. You need to apply over-the-counter antibiotic topical ointments for treatment of the pustules.

Unusual Discharge

If you notice draining of a foul smelling, yellowish-green fluid from the ear piercing area, then it is a sure sign of infection. Do not confuse this unusual fluid leaking with discharge of clear yellowish fluid, as the latter is a symptom of the normal healing process.

For more information on ear piercing infections, you can refer to:

  • Infected Ear Piercing - What To Do
  • Infected Ear Lobe Piercing

Before advocating any kind of infected ear piercing treatment, ensure that the symptoms are manifested due to infection, but not by allergic reactions to the jewelery. Most of the above mentioned infected ear piercing symptoms improve with effectual home remedies like, saline water wash, cold compresses and keeping the area dry. In case symptoms do not respond and persist for more than 5-6 days, get the ear piercings checked by a qualified dermatologist.


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Sundheep Agarwal

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