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Q. My ear is swollen, tender, and pus is coming out around a new cartilage piercing. Please help.

Answered by
Dr. Sugreev Singh
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 11, 2020

I had a question about my ear infection. A few weeks ago I got a cartilage piercing. I used saline solution to clean the piercing because the piercer said not to use any alcohol or peroxide. After going to the doctor the first time, she told me to use peroxide to clean it but rinse it off after. (Is that okay?) Also another area that is hurting from the infection is my ear drum. I randomly will get a sharp pain there.

About a week later it started to get swollen, tender, red and pus would come out of it. So of course I went and talked to a doctor about it. The doctor prescribed me a antibiotic topical. I used it for a few days and saw no improvement, so I went to a patient first prepared for it to be removed. Instead, I was prescribed an oral antibiotic. This doctor had told me he did not think it was so swollen/severe to the point where it had to be removed. Since then, I have yet seen any improvement so far. I have read many different articles and do not know when my symptoms (like the swelling for instance) will go away. I’ve seen it could take up to 3 days, then I have seen it can take up to 1-2 weeks. Once again, my ear is swollen around where the cartilage piercing is, it is tender and it has liquidy pus and a little bit of blood that comes out. I even feel a pain behind my ear and a lymph node in my neck is swollen (because of the infection I believe). Anyway, I just want to know with the symptoms I have now, how long would an oral antibiotic take to at least show any difference?

Dr. Sugreev Singh

General Medicine Internal Medicine

Hi welcome to icliniq

Ma’am it’s due to infection only. As i can see in picture it all developed after piercing only. In most of the cases it’s seen then people develop such infections after piercing. Because when we have opening or wound then it’s easier for injection to get in. Along with topical you oral antibiotics are helpful.

It takes a week or two for antibiotics to kill the injection. On an average 10 days But completely depends on the dosage if you are not getting proper dose then it won’t heal easily. And my suggestion you should remove this ear ring for sometime. After healing you can put them again if everything goes well. But for now you should remove and take oral antibiotics and also you can apply topical one. And after 7 or 10 days let’s see what changes you get.

  • Can you please tell me what dosage of amoxicillin and clavulate are you taking?
  • And how many times a day ?

So i can correct if needed. Thank you Please reply

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