Infected belly button piercing

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A belly button piercing is a common form of body art. It might take up to 6 weeks to 2 years for a piercing to fully heal. During this period, the individual is at risk for infection. Remember that even injury to an old piercing can result to an infection.

Is it infected?

If a piercing is new, it is expected to see some redness, swelling or discoloration around the site. There is also some clear drainage that dries and forms a crust around the site. Over time, these symptoms should settle.

Infected belly button piercing
If infection is suspected, do not remove the jewelry unless instructed to do so by the doctor.

The usual complications are allergic reactions and bacterial infections. An allergic reaction occurs if sensitive to a type of metal used such as those made of nickel.

A bacterial infection develops if bacteria from foreign object or dirt enters a piercing as it heals. Take note that a piercing is an open wound that should be kept clean.

Signs of an allergic reaction

  • Itchy, swollen rash around the piercing that later spreads
  • Tenderness that comes and goes
  • Pierced hole appears bigger than before

Signs of an infection

  • Significant swelling with redness and pain
  • Yellowish, greenish, gray or brown drainage with foul odor
  • Red-colored lines radiating from the site of the piercing
  • Fever and chills
  • Dizziness along with upset stomach or vomiting

Cleaning an infected belly button piercing

  • If infection is suspected, do not remove the jewelry unless instructed to do so by the doctor. Most piercings do not require removal to treat the infection. Keeping the hole open will allow the pus to drain.
  • Proper cleansing of the piercing is vital, usually at least 2 times a day. Utilize a salt water solution to get rid of any dried secretions followed by a mild antibacterial soap.
  • Apply a warm compress on the site to allow the drainage of pus and lessen the swelling.
  • Apply an antibacterial cream to clear up minor infections.

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