Ear Piercing

We get often get questions on this subject on Facebook and in the office. So here are answers to some of the ones we get most frequently…

When Can My Child Get Pierced Ears?

PierceSquareIn short, the best time to take your children to their ears pierced is when they’re old enough to care for the piercings themselves. They can, however, be done at any age. It’s recommended to wait at least until the child has had his or her first round of vaccines.

They should be taken to a reputable piercing place. Our office does not offer ear piercings. Make sure that the piercing place is following guidelines in terms of cleaning and sterilization. The individual performing the piercing shouldbe seen thoroughly cleaning their hands. The equipment and earrings themselves should be sterile.

What Type of Earring Should I Choose?

Choose an earring with a gold post. These are less likely to cause infection, swelling, or allergic reactions.

How Do I Care for the Piercing?

The earring used to pierce the child’s ear will need to be left in for 4-6 weeks before it can be changed. Cleaning should be performed twice daily. Before handling the piercing, make sure hands are thoroughly washed. Using a cotton ball or swab, apply the cleaning solution (usually provided by the piercing place) or rubbing alcohol. Some places recommend a topical antibiotic to prevent infection. You’ll also want to rotate the earring gently.

How Will I Know if the Piercing Gets Infected?

The earlobe may be warm, red, tender, swollen, or even ooze a thick, yellow drainage. It’s important to recognize signs of infection immediately, before the infection spreads. It’s also important to watch for fevers. These are all signs to give the office a call so a provider can examine the piercing.

What Happens if it’s Infected?

Depending on what the provider decides, cleaning and topical antibiotics may be enough. Your provider may suggest removing the piercing temporarily. If an infection is serious enough, an oral antibiotic may be required. If you have any concern that a piercing may be infected, it should be evaluated by a provider in the office.

Alyssa Papa, a certified Physician Assistant, joined Kids Plus in June 2012.