How do I deal with pus from a piercing?

Touching a new piercing is one of the most common ways for bacteria to get into a new piercing.

Pus from a piercing, especially a new piercing, is not uncommon and is usually a sign of infection. Individuals with new piercings should avoid touching the areas as much as possible as this can introduce bacteria to the area. The affected piercing should not be removed immediately as this can cause an abscess. Instead, the area should be washed with a weak solution of sea salt and water. If the piercing does not improve within a few days, medical attention is usually recommended.

Pus from a piercing can be treated with a weak solution of sea salt and water.

New piercings are the most susceptible to infection, which often causes redness, swelling, and drainage of pus. This normally occurs when tiny microorganisms are introduced into the drill hole. When this occurs, the body’s immune system surrounds the microorganisms with white blood cells and tries to expel them from the body. The result of this is pus, which can be white, yellow, or green.

A woman with two earlobe piercings.

One of the most common ways bacteria can get into a new piercing is when a person touches it. Experts generally recommend not touching a new piercing unless absolutely necessary, such as when cleaning it. When someone touches a new piercing, however, she should wash her hands well.

When there is pus in a piercing, most experts also do not recommend removing the jewelry. This can cause the external piercing holes to close up. An abscess can then form inside the puncture hole. Internal scar tissue can also form.

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Pus coming from a piercing can usually be treated effectively with a weak solution of salt and water. Sea salt is usually recommended for this. Regular table salt is not recommended as it often contains iodine, which can cause further irritation.

Following a regular post-piercing care routine can help prevent infections.

Approximately 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of sea salt should be mixed in a cup of hot or lukewarm water. The mixture can be stirred to help completely dissolve the salt. Once the salt is completely dissolved, it can be used to rinse the pus out of a piercing.

The salt water solution can usually be rubbed into most types of piercings with a sterile cotton swab. Individuals with tongue piercings, however, may be able to pass the solution through their mouths. An infected piercing should be rinsed with a salt water solution two to three times a day.

New piercings are the most susceptible to infection.

Pus from a piercing, along with other signs of infection, usually starts to dissipate within four days. While all signs of infection may not be gone completely, the area should be doing better. If there is no improvement, a visit to a medical professional is usually required. More aggressive antibiotics may be needed to clear a serious infection.

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