Tragus is the small ovoid cartilaginous flap just outside the canal of the ear. It has become a common spot to pierce and pin up jewelry and such a piercing is known as tragus piercing.
Traditionally, ear lobe piercing has remained a popular choice for people but due to the dynamic nature of the fashion industry, people are opting to try something different to distinguish themselves form others, leading to the advent of tragus piercing. For tragus piercing or any piercing, infection is a common occurrence. So you need the necessary information to spot an infection early and get it well treated.
How to Know If You Have Infected Tragus Piercing
Tragus piercing infection presents with some common signs and symptoms:
- The affected area swells up, feels warm and aches for about 48 hours after a new piercing.
- The area around the piercing tends to be red in color.
- Bleeding may occur for a considerable amount of time.
- Localized heat is felt when touching the site of the piercing.
- Formation of abscess, pustules or boils around the piercing.
- Pus-like yellow-green discharge is observed in many people, with foul smell in extreme cases.
Infected Tragus Piercing Causes
Although small in size, Tragus is exposed which makes it vulnerable to infection. Common causes of tragus piercing infection are as follows:
1. Unsterilized Tools and Environment
This is a common cause of tragus piercing infection. This means you have your piercing done by a piercer who is not careful, not qualified, or not aware of the importance of sterilization such as disinfecting the piercing tools. Usually this kind of infection occurs 2-3 days after the piercing. Unhygienic conditions at the place where you get the piercing can be a precipitating factor for infection.
2. Poor Piercing Aftercare
Failing to take proper aftercare of the piercing usually results in infection. It is important to carefully follow the aftercare instructions given to you by the professional piercer, which usually requires you to wash it with a saline solution.
3. Jewelry of Inappropriate Size and Material
Size of the jewelry is an important consideration when getting a tragus piercing because too big or heavy jewelry can pull on the tragus, if too tight it can abrupt the healing process leading to infection.
It is also necessary to make sure you're not allergic to the material of the jewelry. Nickel is known to cause allergic reactions in people. It is recommended to opt for stainless steel, gold, silver or platinum jewelry as they're commonly hypo-allergic.
4. Other Causes for Infected Tragus Piercing
- Constant cleaning of the pierced area may irritate it and cause inflammation.
- Mechanical or chemical injury to the pierced area.
- Physical trauma to the pierced site while cleaning the area.
How to Deal With Infected Tragus Piercing
From the signs and symptoms discussed we can evaluate that a tragus piercing infection is a common troublesome complication that needs proper attention. Here are some treatment and home remedies to ease the pain.
1. Apply Rubbing Alcohol
Using a piece of cotton to apply rubbing alcohol twice or thrice a day helps clean the infected area. Hydrogen peroxide shouldn't be used as it causes dryness over the pierced area and should be contraindicated if the area hasn't healed completely.
2. Use Saline Solution
In case the infection occurs as the piercing is healing, it is advised to dip a cotton bud into a saline solution and clean the infected area with it, making sure that all the debris and pus is removed in the process. You can make you own saline solution by combining one teaspoon of sea salt and eight ounces of water.
3. Try Chamomile Tea Bag
It is a good home remedy to dip chamomile teabag in warm water and dabbing the infected area with the bag. It not only cleans the area, but also quickens the healing process. The water used to dip the teabag can further be used for cleansing.
4. Apply Hot Compress
Soak a clean piece of cloth in warm water, wring it and apply it to the infected area twice a day. This aids in maintaining a good blood circulation to the tragus and accelerating the healing process.
5. Treat with Antibiotics
If all the remedies mentioned above fail, you should seek help from the piercer or the doctor. After thorough examination, you may be recommended oral or topical antibiotics, painkillers and ointments that can help curb the infection. This is highly probably in the case of cellulitis. Make sure you seek medical attention before using any antibiotic on your own accord.
6. Other Ways of Handling an Infected Tragus Piercing
- If serious damage occurs around the piercing, it is better to remove the jewelry so no further damage occurs.
- Use an antiseptic spray to soothe infection
- Don't touch the piercing, especially after the onset of infection.