If you've finally given in and agreed to let your child have their ears pierced, then you will have told them to follow their aftercare instructions carefully. While you've kept an eye on how they're looking after their piercings, they tell you that one of them doesn't feel right. You aren't sure if they are experiencing normal post-piercing issues or if the piercing is infected. How can you tell?
1. Redness and Swelling
Ears sometimes look a little red and swollen after a piercing, especially around the hole itself. However, the ear should settle down quite quickly if the piercing went well and your child is looking after their ear.
If your child complains that the area around the piercing site is sore to the touch and looks different, then it may be infected. If the ear is red, swollen, hot to the touch and your child winces or yelps when you touch it, then you may have a problem on your hands.
2. Discharge on the Piercing
While a piercing may crust over a little after it is done, this crust is basically like a scab. Regular cleaning of the site should clean it off as the piercing heals. Your child shouldn't have significant problems with it.
If you see a discharge coming out of the piercing that doesn't seem to be clearing up or is getting worse rather than better, then this could be a sign of infection. A clear discharge may not be a problem, but one that looks yellow or even green is likely a sign of a bacterial infection.
3. Your Child Has a Fever
Even if a piercing is a little sore and leaky for a day or so after the procedure, your child should stay fit and well if they are taking care of the site. However, if the piercing gets an infection, your child may show other signs that they aren't well.
For example, a bacterial infection may spread and start to make your child feel hot and feverish. Their temperature may go up and they may feel run down. If there is no other reason why your child is running a fever, then the piercing may be the problem.
If you have any doubts about the piercing, then make an appointment at your medical clinic. Your GP can take a look to see if it is infected. If it is, your child may need antibiotics to clear the infection up.