It is common to have earlobe piercing but today, an increasing number of individuals are piercing the cartilage on the ears and nose. Cartilage consists of the upper part of ear or nose. This area is one, which is considered dangerous when it is pierced and could lead to infections. People doing cartilage piercing should know about the health risks involved and take precautionary measures to avert complications and infections.
Nowadays, many people ranging from rebellious teenagers to baby boomers are piercing strange parts of body including the navels, tongue, and even genitals. Doctors are now beginning to see the dark side of body piercing which include infections from puncture wounds. With the studs or baubles being placed in unusual places, doctors are finding it difficult to administer emergency care in case of complications.
Body piercing is something that has been practiced since ancient times. It is not going away any soon, according to Pat McCarthy. McCarthy is president heading the Association of Professional Piercers in Columbus, Ohio. Piercing is quite fashionable and it allows people have freedom of expression. But the same piercing is now bringing troubles as more people are being infected from dirty wounds.
Reasons why cartilage piercing can be harmful
In a survey by Dr. Welch of the Medical Literature, it found out that there is 22 percent rate of infection from piercing overall compared to 34 percent rate of infections experienced in cartilage piercing. Cartilage found in outer nose and ear tends to be susceptible to infections. This is because cartilage parts of body lacks adequate blood supply.
Supply of blood brings immune system cells so that they fight infections. However, Dr. Joseph Adrian Tyndall of the Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York who is program director in charge of emergency medicine residency pinpoints that because there is insufficient blood supply in cartilage, the part of body is not able to respond to infections properly, and that is why more infections are being witnessed.
The tissue can die due to infection thereby leaving behind ugly scars. Infections may also occur when partners bite or lick a piercing, which hasn’t healed completely.
Causes of cartilage piercing bump
A cartilage piercing bump occurs as a raised scar that forms around the exit holes in the part of the ear that has been pierced. While the bumps may not be dangerous, they do feel unpleasant or at times itchy. The bumps may be caused by unhygienic procedures in piercing.
Wearing inappropriate and inexpensive jewelry may be another cause for the cartilage piercing bump. Some materials may cause allergy reactions and lead to infections. Nickel is considered the culprit.
Failure to maintain personal hygiene in caring for the wound may cause infection. When you have pierced the cartilage, you need to ensure that it remains clean and dry for it to heal quickly. The area should not be touched since infections can occur. A bump may occur when you over-clean the area or due to physical injury. Use of piercing gun may also contribute to the bump.
Symptoms of infection from cartilage piercing
When you have a cartilage piercing bump, it is an indication that the part of body has developed an infection. There are other symptoms, which may appear such as severe pain on the pierced area when you touch it. The area may become red especially the skin around.
It becomes tender and discharge of green or yellow pus from the area may be experienced. One may feel a sensation of hotness around the pierced area. Some people may have fever if Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes the infection. There may be prolonged bleeding, which is followed by a crush forming on the piercing.
Treating cartilage piercing bump
When a bump has developed on a pierced cartilage, you will need to seek treatment. There are three stages involved in the healing of cartilage and one is the inflammatory stage where the wound swells while still open. The body will produced collagen in the second stage, and in third stage, it is when maturation occurs with disorganized collagen fibers repairing the wound.
You can speed up the healing process which is usually 12 months; by using products such as sea salt soaking, chamomile tea bag placed on the wound, and use of aspirin to trigger healing. Cleaning with warm water may also help. In case the infection worsens, seek medical help. Use of antibiotics may also help.
Antibiotics are recommended in treating cartilage piercing infections when cellulitis occurs. This is when the wound grows and extends beyond the pierced area. And, because cartilage tends to have little blood supply, it is recommended that strong antibiotics be administered because ordinary ones like amoxillin may not help.
Prescriptions such as Cipro may be administered because they are strong. When you have an infection don’t attempt removing the jewelry because it helps in draining the wound. When you remove the jewelry, it may make the channel to close up. At times, it may lead to abscess, which is characterized by formation of dark and hardened tissues around the wound.
There may be more pain and swelling since the infection remains trapped under skin when you remove the jewelry. When you want to pierce the cartilage, make sure you do it from a professional piercer who uses sterilized equipment.
Filed in: Health and Lifestyle