Irritation Vs. Infection

CAUTION: Some of the pictures in the following pages (Problem Piercings) are not pretty/may disturb. They are for educational purposes, as an example ONLY.
Please seek a piercers advice before diagnosing yourself.

A common mis-diagnoses in piercings is a simple irritation can be labeled as an infection. 
There are many things that can cause an irritation and most can be easily avoided. Touching your piercing, changing the jewelry before it is ready and slight trauma can lead to a piercing irritation. Below we will go through the differences between the two and what to do if any of these occur.

If you suspect either an irritation or infection, DO NOT REMOVE YOUR JEWELRY.

Image from Reddit.

Image from Reddit

  • Excessive Swelling
  • Hot
  • Weeping/Pus
  • Painful.
  • Generally feeling unwell.
Common reasons a piercing can become irritated are:

Unnecessary touching of your piercing.
Your piercing getting bumped or snagged on clothing etc.
Sleeping on your piercing.
Using harsh product/chemicals to clean your piercing.
Changing your jewelry too often/too soon.
Inappropriate jewelry for your piercing.
Placement/angle of the piercing.

Any of these can result in an 'angry' piercing. Irritation can be very simple to treat. It all depends on how/why it has become irritated. Please get in contact with your piercer if you suspect you have a piercing irritation for the best course of action.
If you can't get to a piercer soon, there is a few things you can do in the meantime. Frequent saline soaks (3 times a day for 10mins at a time) can greatly help. You can do this by completely submerging the piercing in the saline or soaking a cottonball and holding it on there for the recommended time. 

If you are unsure if it is an infection or irritation, you are welcome to come and see us at Charm for an assessment, or see your local piercer. They should be-able to help you correctly ID the issue without an expensive doctor consult. However, infections do need to be treated with anti-biotics.
If you are experiencing any of the following; fever, chills, nausea, vomitting, dizziness. The piercing is extremely swollen, red streaks emanating for it. Large amounts of pus discharge that is greenish, yellowish or greyish.
Refrain from taking the piercing out at this stage as you will need an open area for drainage. Explaining this to your doctor should help them make sense of the situation. If the jewelry needs to be swapped for a longer/bigger piece, then please go and see your piercer to switch it for you. Many doctors are not sure on how to remove many piercing jewelry pieces, a piercer should beable to do this with ease and hopefully with much less pain to you.