Many piercings become red, swollen, or tender as they heal. But what’s the difference between a piercing that’s irritated and one that’s infected? Knowing the signs of infection will help you protect your piercing- as well as your overall health. Below, we’ll explain the differences between an infected vs. irritated piercing. We’ll also tell you when to seek medical help for your issue.

What’s Normal During The Healing Process

Mild irritation is normal after a piercing. Your level of irritation will depend on the location of your body art, the type of jewelry used, as well as your skin’s natural sensitivity level. Follow your aftercare instructions and try to avoid touching the area too much. Normal irritation will subside on its own.

Infected Vs. Irritated Piercing

An irritated piercing will usually be red, though you might also notice bumps, dry skin, or a yellowish/whitish crust that forms near the body jewelry. The spot might be sore, tender, or slightly swollen.

Infected piercings, on the other hand, will cause issues that affect more than just the immediate piercing site. The surrounding area might be red, swollen, and/or hot to the touch. Infections can also cause pus drainage. Finally, an infection can spread quickly. Some patients will being to feel cold or flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, or even run a fever.

An irritated piercing site will usually improve slightly with each passing day. Generally speaking, patients won’t need medical care. Infections, on the other hand, might not heal on their own. They might also get worse as time passes. Finally, medical care is usually necessary.

When To See a Doctor

If you suspect you have a piercing infection, then it’s important to see a doctor. Only a doctor can properly diagnose and treat the problem. Even small infections can spread quickly, becoming major issues. Therefore, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you notice infection symptoms.

Infectious Disease Care in Houston, TX

If you have an infection, then Dr. Sharaf Diwan is here to help. Dr. Diwan has been treating infectious diseases for over 20 years and brings his care, compassion, and expertise to every patient. Call 832-604-0005 to book your appointment today.

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