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5 Signs Your Child Has an Infected Ear Piercing

Is your child’s recent ear piercing not looking as healthy as it should?

Studies have shown that about one in every five body piercings will get infected at some point. If left untreated, the infection could turn dangerous, possibly even deadly. It’s important to keep an eye on any new piercing, even one as tame as an earlobe piercing.

Here are some signs that your child may have an infected ear piercing and needs antibiotic treatment.

Significant Swelling and Redness

Does the site of your child’s ear piercing look significantly puffier than normal? That could be a red flag for a potential infection.

Some swelling is to be expected following the trauma of an ear piercing. However, if your child’s ear appears significantly large, red, and warm to the touch, it could mean that an infection is brewing.

Inflammation shouldn’t last longer than a week and should be considered abnormal if it persists beyond that. If major swelling and redness haven’t subsided within a few days of the piercing, contact your child’s doctor.

Yellow, Pus-Like Discharge

Keep an eye on any discharge draining from your child’s piercing. A clear-ish or slightly yellow liquid is normal. A foul-smelling, off-colored discharge is a probable sign of infection.

Check your child’s ears in the morning. If your child’s piercing site is crusty upon waking, it could be a sign that pus is leaking overnight.

If you see any yellow or greenish discharge coming from the immediate piercing area, your child likely has an infected ear piercing.

Pain or Tenderness

Is your child overly fussy or complaining of pain or tenderness in their ear? Unless it’s immediately following the actual piercing, soreness is a major warning sign of infection.

Pain can also be caused by lacerations from rapid swelling. Ibuprofen can help to offset the tenderness until proper treatment has relieved your child’s symptoms.

If your child is old enough to verbalize the pain, ask them if their ear hurts worse than it did yesterday. With an infection, discomfort will increase over time rather than decreasing like normal.


If your child develops a fever with no other apparent symptoms in the days following an ear piercing, it could very well be due to an infection.

Don’t hesitate to take your child’s temperature if anything seems off after a recent piercing. A fever is a sign that their body is fighting off an infection.

Contact your doctor if your child spikes over 100 degrees, so you can start the proper antibiotic treatment.


Though it’s more common in other body piercing sites, your child could develop pus-filled blisters on their infected ears.

Don’t try to pop the blisters yourself. You’ll need to contact your child’s doctor for an antibiotic topical ointment to take care of the pustules safely. Forcibly popping them could cause further infection and damage to your child’s earlobe.

Signs of an Infected Ear Piercing

Keep on eye on your child’s ear piercing after the procedure. Knowing the red flags for infection can save you and your child a lot of pain and frustration.

Wondering whether an ear piercing infection is appropriate for urgent care? Contact us today.