Infected Pierced Ears in Childrenby Erin Schreiner
While earrings can make your little girls' ear lobes more beautiful, if they are untended to, these piercings can become a source of infection. To ensure that your child's earrings remain a thing of beauty, and not a source of pain, check her ears for infection regularly. If your child is old enough to monitor her own ear health, allow her to play a part by teaching her both how to spot, and how to avoid, ear piercing-related infections.
Danger of Pierced Ear Infections
Pierced ears that become infected are usually just a minor annoyance; however, if left untreated, they can pose a serious health risk to children. If you immediately identify, and tend to, infection, your child's ears will likely heal with relative ease. If you do not, the infection will continue to get worse and -- in extreme causes -- may even seep into the blood and spread throughout the body.
Signs of Infection
The first sign of pierced ear infection in children is generally mild redness radiating out from the piercing location. This redness is often accompanied by minor swelling. As infections increase in severity, this redness and swelling may be joined by pus that seeps from the sight of the piercing.
In some cases, piercing infection is not due to lack of care but instead to metal allergy. When your child initially has her ears pierced, the starter earrings should have gold posts because gold is the metal least likely to initiate an allergic reaction. Once she starts to change her earrings, monitor her earring use carefully. If she frequently gets an infection after wearing a certain pair of studs, it could be an indication that she is allergic to the metal from which the earrings are made. If you notice this, discontinue use of the earrings in question and stick to hypoallergenic or pure gold options to prevent future infection.
Ear piercing infection generally occurs when germs manage to enter the piercing cavity. By exercising care, you can likely prevent this. Instruct your child to wash her hands before she touches her earrings, and you do the same. Regularly treat the lobes with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic ointment, using a cotton ball or swab to apply this preventive medication. To ensure proper healing of newly pierced ears, rotate the earrings regularly using your freshly cleaned hands.
If your child's ears become infected, it is likely no cause for alarm. You can treat a mild infection by applying rubbing alcohol several times a day with a cotton swab or cotton ball. If the infection becomes more severe, or does not subside after treatment, contact your child's pediatrician. This health care professional may prescribe an antibacterial ointment for treatment of the infected area.
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