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Ear piercing: The good, the bad and the very ugly

Piercing the upper ear sometimes results in hard-to-treat infections that can lead to permanent disfigurement. There are many things that need to be considered when…

Piercing the upper ear sometimes results in hard-to-treat infections that can lead to permanent disfigurement. There are many things that need to be considered when getting your ear pierced. According to an article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, some of the risks that are involved with piercings are uncontrollable bleeding, scarring and skin allergies due to the kind of jewellery used. It also creates boils that secrete pus. Some more serious risks include hepatitis, tetanus, HIV, chronic infection and nerve damage, all of which will make you regret getting a or second piercing.

Excessive swelling and infection is almost a guarantee with wrongful and unhygienic piercing. It may seem simple and harmless, but the procedure is actually very painful and risky. It is important to get your ears pierced by someone who knows how to do it correctly or a professional in that field, instead of having a friend do it for you as most people do nowadays. When ear piercings are wrongfully done and under unhygienic condition, it could lead to the possibility of keloids and big bumps around and about the ear.

It is fairly common for pierced ears to get infected when they are not properly taken care of. Once infected, the ear cartilage can be very difficult to treat as it is harder to treat than the earlobes, the cartilage has a poor blood supply, so it becomes difficult for medication to reach the infected site. Most times it gets out of hand. The only remedy would be surgery. When detected early enough intravenous antibiotics could help.

According to Dr. Joe Jonathan an Otolaryngologist or better known as an ENT specialist in one of the private hospital in Abuja, “most times, when people have their ears pierced they do not tend to it very well, they are careless with it forgetting that it is an easy way for infection to get in to the body system. The infection continues to spread thereby making them sick. Most times there are signs that the piercing has been infected but they ignore and treat it casually. There are three signs that piercing has gone wrong; your earrings get stuck in the ear, redness and swelling around the hole occur and it gets worse if you have a fever, which is an indicator that it might be tetanus.” He said people who decide to have their ears pierced should be aware of the danger and risk they are the ear gets infected if it is done by anyone who is not a professional and the instruments used especially the stud or earrings are not sterilised before the piercing,” he also stressed that people who are diabetic should be cautious when getting a piercing because they are more susceptible to infection.

In addition, piercings will hurt if you move or touch them too much before they have healed. This will cause bleeding and sharp stinging pains. Some other risks include getting them caught on clothing or other objects, which can also cause a lot of pain if it has not healed.

The next time you get a piercing, keep everything in mind to ensure your health and well-being. As getting piercings becomes more common, it is important that people are aware of all of the risks involved in getting piercings should you get an infection contact a doctor. Pierced ears may look cool, but infected ears do not!