Piercings have been rising in popularity over the past few decades, particularly in areas other than the more traditional earlobe. Tongues, lips, noses, eyebrows, nipples, navels, and genitals have all become common sites for jewelry. Though piercings are generally harmless, if the procedure isn’t sanitary and the piercing site doesn’t receive proper care, they can become infected. Most piercing infections are minor, though they can become more severe through lack of treatment or when the holes are in certain positions.
Typically, an infected body piercing experiences inflammation and swelling of the piercing site. The area may develop a redness as well. Pain and tenderness often accompany the swelling. Pain upon contact can prevent the individual from properly cleaning the site, which leads to more serious infections. As piercings worsen, they may begin to burn or itch. It’s common for infected body piercings to secrete a yellow, green, or yellow-white discharge. Serious infections sometimes cause fevers.
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