Pierced Ear Infections
Pierced ears have become very popular in our country. The most common complication is a low-grade bacterial infection of the channel through the ear lobe. These can usually be cleared up if the earring is removed and cleaned with rubbing alcohol three times a day. Also apply an antibiotic ointment to the post before reinserting it. If this doesn't bring improvement in a few days, contact your child's healthcare provider.
Prevent future infections in the following way:
- First: Remind your youngster not to touch the earrings except when inserting or removing them. The fingers are often dirty and contaminate the area. Help him or her find something else to fidget with.
- Second: Clean the earring, the post and the ear lobe with rubbing alcohol each morning before insertion.
- Third: Apply the clasp loosely to prevent any pressure on the ear lobe. The earring should have an air space on both sides. Air needs to enter the channel to keep it dry. The pressure from tight earrings reduces blood flow to the ear lobe and sets it up for infections.
One final warning: Remind your youngster that dangling earrings can lead to a torn ear lobe that might require plastic surgery. Take them off when playing sports, washing the hair or handling young children who might yank on them.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2004
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.