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Avoiding Infection After Ear Piercing

What is the best way to avoid infection after ear piercing?

Ears may be pierced for cosmetic reasons at any age, and during the middle years of childhood, some youngsters will ask to have their ears pierced. If the piercing is performed carefully and cared for conscientiously, there is little risk, no matter what the age of the child. However, as a general guideline, postpone the piercing until your child is mature enough to take care of the pierced site herself.

For the actual piercing procedure, have a doctor, nurse or experienced technician perform it. Rubbing alcohol or other disinfectants should be used to minimize the chances of an infection. At the time of the piercing, a round, gold-post earring should be inserted; in fact, some piercing instruments themselves can put the gold posts in place at the same time, thus avoiding any additional probing that can increase the chance of infection. The gold in the posts will reduce the risk of an allergic reaction and inflammation in the area.

After the piercing, apply rubbing alcohol or an antibiotic ointment to the area two times a day for a few days; these applications will cut down the chances of infection and hasten the healing process. The earring should not be removed for four to six weeks, but should be gently rotated each day. If the area of piercing becomes red or tender, an infection may be developing, and you should seek medical attention promptly.

Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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