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Thread: Infected helix experience (warning: gross and long)

  1. #1
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    Default Infected helix experience (warning: gross and long)

    Hi everyone! I wanted to share my experience with my infected helix and get some opinions, hope thatís ok! Itís a bit gross so apologies but Iím hoping it might be useful for anyone else in a similar situation. I had a single helix piercing done 2 weeks ago. In theory I did all the right things. The piercing place is incredibly professional and Iíve had multiple successful piercings from them before. Itís proper titanium implant grade jewellery (Industrial Strength brand). Flawless piercing experience as always and then my usual aftercare routine of saline soaks twice a day (as recommended by the studio, I know people have conflicting opinions) and leaving it the hell alone.


    Then on Thursday afternoon I was driving and my ear began to throb. I looked in the mirror and I looked like Iíd been punched! It was huge, purple and hot to touch. So I took some ibuprofen for the swelling and cleaned it with saline. There was no pus or anything at this point.


    By Friday lunch time large amounts of white/ pale yellow pus appeared so off to primary care I went. I saw two nurse practitioners. The first, the triage nurse, rolled her eyes at me and told me the piercing would have to come out no questions asked. I said I would do whatever they told me had to be done but queried about removing the piercing as it could trap the infection in the rapidly healing fistula. She rolled her eyes again and that was the end of that conversation.The second nurse (who was a delight thankfully) immediately told me NOT to remove the jewellery for the exact reasons I had originally thought. She told me the infection was pretty big but that as I wasnít running a temperature or feeling feverish to take a 7 day course of antibiotics (flucloxacillin), keep on with the ibuprofen and clean the area with TCP every couple of hours for a couple of days. She agreed TCP was far too harsh for a piercing normally but given the circumstances needs must. It stinks to high heaven mind!


    On Sunday morning the pus and throbbing have gone although my ear was still swollen (less so than it has been) and red/ hot to touch. Today (Monday) throughout the day the swelling has come down considerably, the outer edge of my ear is a more normal colour and the back cartilage is hard to touch rather than pillowy like it has been. The inner cartilage is still red and hot though. An interesting side effect has been that my second lobe on the same ear which was fully healed has been leaking a small amount of blood and clear plasma over the last 24 hours. I can only assume itís because either the infections spread (doesít seem to be infected though) or itís reverted back to the crusty stage due to the trauma from my ear swelling.


    So I suppose my questions are what are your thoughts on removing jewellery in infected sites? Do you think that once the infection is gone I have a chance of retaining the piercing? Itís so frustrating that this happened but it goes to show that even in the best possible circumstances sometimes your body will decide to throw you a curve ball anyway so keep a close eye on those piercings folks!


    End ramble!

  2. #2
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    There's no real reason to remove and many state it's better to keep it in. Genuine infections in piercings are very rare but you certainly had one, it's just a chance, random thing sadly. TCP is WAY too harsh especially to be using it every 2 hours, that's insane. Finish the antibiotic course fully and go see your piercer another week or so after that for them to have a look at the piercing and make sure it's not migrated or settled in an unwanted angle etc. Your lobe reacted the way it did because of the strain you were under. I doubt the infection went down to the bottom of your ear, otherwise the whole thing would have blown up and you'd be in a considerable amount of pain.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response Hazel. Agree about the TCP, I used it to clear away the pus on Saturday (and once Sunday morning till I realised there wasn't any) and since I've just been showering twice a day and keeping my paws off it. It's started to get slightly itchy this evening which isn't uncommon for healing piercings for me... I'm hoping it's a good sign rather than a bad one!

  4. #4
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    Just a little update, just for info on the infection/ healing process really. By day 5 of antibiotics my ear had returned to normal. The piercing site remained itchy with some flaky dry skin (yum...) for another couple of days. My second love piercing has returned to normal as well. I'm extremely relieved to see it has settled straight so I'm going to leave it in to carry on healing as if nothing had happened. I dread to think what might have happened if I hadn't gone for antibiotics!
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