Infected navel piercing: cleaning tips and more


Navel piercings are one of the most popular forms of body art. In general, they are safe if a professional performs the drilling with the correct needle in a clean environment. Unhealthy conditions and lack of aftercare are the main causes of bacterial infections after piercings.

It can take up to six weeks or two years for the belly button piercing to completely heal. During that time, you are at risk of infection.

Even an injury to an old piercing can cause an infection. For example, if the perforation is caught in the pants or belt buckles.

How to know if you are infected

When a piercing is new, it is normal to see some swelling, redness or discoloration around the site. It can also have a clear discharge that dries and forms a crystal-like crust around the perforation. These symptoms should improve over time, not get worse.

Two of the most common complications are bacterial infections and allergic reactions.

Bacterial infections arise when bacteria from dirt or foreign objects enter the open piercing while it is still healing. Remember, piercings are open wounds that must be kept clean.

Signs of infection include:

  • Severe swelling with pain and redness.

  • Yellow, green, gray or brown discharge that has an odor.

  • Red lines radiating from the drilling site.

  • fever, chills, dizziness, upset stomach, or vomiting

Choose carefully

  1. The driller is registered with the Association of Professional Drillers (APP).

  2. The store is clean.

  3. The piercer uses sterile instruments.

How to know if you are allergic to metal

Allergic reactions occur if you are allergic to the type of metal used. For example, it is known that piercing jewelry made of nickel causes allergic reactions in susceptible people.

Metals that are safe for body piercing include:

  • surgical steel

  • Solid gold of 14 carats or 18 carats.

  • niobium

  • titanium

  • platinum

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • development of an itchy and swollen rash around the perforation that extends to a larger area

  • a perforated hole that looks bigger than before

  • Tenderness that can come and go.

1. Keep the drill hole open.

If you suspect an infection, do not remove the jewelry on your own, unless your doctor tells you to. Most piercings do not need to be removed to treat infections.

Keeping the drill hole open allows the pus to drain. Allowing the hole to close can trap the infection inside your body, causing an abscess to form.

2. Clean the piercing.

It is important to clean your piercing, both to prevent and treat an infection. Experts recommend cleaning a piercing no more than twice a day.

Use a mixture of salt water (1/2 teaspoon of sea salt for 1 cup of water) to help eliminate dry healing secretions followed by a mild, mild antibacterial soap and cleansing with water. You can also use any of these cleaning methods alone.

Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as they can dry the skin and irritate the area around the piercing.

First, remember to wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. Then, use a cotton swab and your cleaning solution to gently clean the area around the navel and the ring. Dry the area with a clean towel.

3. Use a warm compress

Place a warm compress on the infected piercing. This can help drain the pus and make the swelling go down.

Wet a compress, like a warm washcloth, with your cleaning solution. Place the compress in the hole. Gently dry the area with a clean towel after using the damp cloth.

4. Apply an antibacterial cream.

Using an antibacterial cream, not an ointment, often eliminates minor infections. The ointments are greasy and can prevent oxygen from reaching the wound, which complicates the healing process.

You can buy an over-the-counter antibacterial cream, such as Neosporin, but there is a risk of allergic skin irritation with this type of product.

If you are not allergic to the over-the-counter antibiotic cream, you can carefully clean the perforation site and then follow the instructions on the package.

Consult your doctor

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any significant signs of infection, especially fever or nausea. Even minor infections can get worse without treatment.

Your doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic cream such as mupirocin (Bactroban) or an oral antibiotic.



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