Medical Ear Piercing
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ comments on ear piercings:
- As a general guideline, postpone the piercing until your child is mature enough to take care of the pierced site.
- 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.
- The earring should not be removed for six weeks.
- If the area of piercing becomes red or tender, an infection may be developing, and you should seek medical attention promptly
Infections & Piercings
As children’s medical professionals at Bumps n’ Bruises Pediatric Urgent Care, we take seriously the issue of infection prevention. There are many ways that infections can be contracted during piercings or develop afterward.
- Provider to patient: As with any other procedure, proper hand washing and hand sanitizing by the provider performing the piercing is important to prevent the spread of infection from the piercer to the client. Your provider will wash / sanitize their hands before performing the piercing procedure.
- Instrument to patient: Ear piercing can be done by many techniques. To protect your health, Bumps n’ Bruises’ equipment is sterile and the cartridge is single use and sterile. There should be no part of the instrument that touches the skin that is not sterile.
- Products designed to try to prevent infection: The studs are lightweight and designed for maximum air circulation, as both features facilitate healing. Another unique feature of Blomdahl ear piercing studs are medical grade plastic earring backs. The earring backs reduce irritation and minimize nickel allergy.
Our prices include the earring, the piercing procedure, and after care instructions. There is no additional charge if you desire the local topical anesthesia for a less painful experience.
Whose ears will you pierce?
Bumps n’ Bruises will pierce earlobes of 3 months and older infants and children that are up to date on their Tetanus shot (babies this is their DTaP, older children and adolescents this is their TdaP).
Can you pierce both ears at once?
We only pierce one ear at a time to ensure complete control with the placement of the earring.
Do you recommend numbing cream for my baby/child?
Numbing cream can be safely used after 3 months with placement on the earlobe avoiding the ear canal. Most babies react to an ear piercing, the same way they do to vaccine shots.
Can I select numbing cream and change my mind once I get there?
You can choose to add or remove your selection of numbing cream at the time of your procedure. Once the medication has been applied, it will start to take effect in about 15 minutes.
Can I bring my own earrings?
In order to reduce the risk of infection and nickel allergy, we only use our medically sterile earrings.
What does it feel like?
It feels like getting a shot but the actual piercing happens in less than a second. For a few moments after the piercing, your earlobe feels warm and flushed.
For how long should I wear the ear piercing earrings?
We recommend that you wait for at least six weeks before you remove the ear piercing earring. It takes about that amount of time for a newly pierced earring tunnel to heal. Removal of the earring before the 6 week period could lead to bruising, bleeding, increased risk of infection or closing of the new piercing hole.
Can I swim after I pierce my ears?
Bumps n’ Bruises Pediatric Urgent Care recommends that you wait 2-3 weeks after your piercing to swim due to chlorine and bacteria in unchlorinated water irritating your pierced ears.
Why do I need to clean my ear with an antiseptic?
An ear piercing means is a break in the skin or a clean wound. There are two kinds of wounds- non-infected wounds and infected wounds. Infected wounds require an antibiotic while an ear piercing (which is a non-infected wound) should be left CLEAN, DRY and OPEN TO AIR. After a shower, use a clean towel or cotton swabs to dry the clean piercing. Signs of infection include, redness, swelling and discharge after the first few days.
I was told that a thicker needle is better than a thinner needle for ear piercing. Is that so?
A thicker needle has got a very important advantage; there is more room, which makes it easier to switch to normal earrings after the healing period. With a thin ear piercing needle there is a greater risk that you will scratch the walls of the piercing when switching earrings, causing a new wound and hence run the risk of getting an infection.
I have heard that ear piercing can cause nickel allergies. Is that true?
The material that some earrings are made of which can cause these allergic reactions. All earrings made of metal contain some level of nickel more or less — even gold and silver. The only ear piercing earrings that do not contain any nickel are the ones made of medical grade plastic. At Bumps n’ Bruises, we have the option of medical grade plastic or the next best thing – medical grade titanium.
Is gold less allergenic than titanium and therefore better for ear piercing?
Medical grade titanium is your best choice for a metal based earring because it is > 99% nickel free and is least likely to leak any nickel into the skin. Please note that medical grade titanium is a much better grade than the titanium available in other earrings.
Can I be allergic to plastic?
Allergies can develop to practically any substance including plastic materials. However, the medical grade plastic used in our earrings have been used extensively on a regular basis in and on humans for more than 35 years. In the medical literature, there are no reports of these plastics causing allergy.
Why shouldn’t I twist the earrings during the healing period?
Twisting the earrings cause rebruising of the newly forming canal and therefore increases healing time. Constant handling of the ear piercing, especially without careful cleaning of hands and earlobe, can result in an infection. Our medical grade earrings are skin friendly and should not embed into skin.
I had my ears pierced several weeks ago and now I have an infection in one of the piercings. What should I do?
It is difficult to give an exact answer without knowing the exact condition of the ear but as general advice: – If the infection is in the earlobe, with the earring in place, apply a warm compress for about 3 minutes, 4 times a day to increase blood flow to the area. Clean with an antiseptic solution and apply a topical antibiotic cream such as neosporin. If no improvement in 24 hours, return to Bumps n’ Bruises for evaluation. Other symptoms that need urgent medical attention are fever, redness spreading from the piercing or a very swollen ear.
Where on the body can Bumps n’ Bruises pierce?
We only pierce on the ear lobe. Other body piercings are not performed at our facility.
Why doesn’t Bumps n’ Bruises perform cartilage piercings?
The cartilage is the firm tissue which gives the ear, nose or other parts of the body its shape and structure. There is not the same kind of “built-in” protection against infection in cartilage as there is in the soft part of the ear (the ear lobe). We do not offer or recommend cartilage piercings as it has many dangers.
- Piercing through cartilage may cause it to fracture or shatter and deform the body part.
- Cartilage has little or no blood supply causing healing to be prolonged. It may take 3 months, and sometimes up to a year for complete healing to occur.
- Infection is much more common with cartilage piercings. While you have blood vessels in the soft part, there are no blood vessels in cartilage. The white cells and the oxygen in the red cells of the blood act as a defense against infection. As there are no blood vessels in the cartilage there is no defense mechanism against infection. Infection that occurs around the cartilage is called perichondritis. This infection may not respond to topical antibiotics. Oral and sometimes intravenous antibiotics may be needed to clear up a perichondritis.