Piercings: The Hidden Dangers


Posted on by admin | in Nanny

Many parents like to pierce their child’s ears while they’re still babies so that it’s out of the way while the child is too young to remember the pain, but that may not be the best option for your kids.  Before you take your little one in to get her ears pierced, you may want to consider some of the dangers associated with ear piercing.

For parents eager to get their baby’s ears pierced, the first place they may consider getting them done is at the mall. However, parents should use caution when visiting such a piercing site. Although the person piercing ears at the mall may have minimal piercing training, she is likely not a medical expert and the piercing conditions may be less sterile than desired.

Another common option for piercings is a tattoo parlor. While many tattoo parlors specialize in piercing, not all states regulate piercings in tattoo parlors.  You’ll want to check the licensing requirements of your state prior to visiting a tattoo parlor for a piercing.

Some pediatrician’s will pierce infants’ ears as part of their practice offerings. For parents considering piercing their baby’s ears, this is often the most hygienic place to have it done.

Regardless of where your baby gets her ears pierced, warnings should be given before the procedure and care instructions should be given after the procedure is completed. You’ll want to make sure that everything is sterile, that the piercer washes their hands before the procedure, and that they wear gloves.   If you have any concerns about the piercer or the place, don’t hesitate to go someplace else.  It’s not worth the risk.  If the instruments are not sterilized blood could transfer from one person to the other and HIV could be contracted.

Like adults, babies can get infections from pierced ears.  Babies can also be allergic to the metal that the earring is made of which could result in a rash, and they tend to explore their world with their hands, which could result in her grabbing at her ears. This could introduce bacteria to the piercing site.  Ear piercings, when infected, can disrupt your child’s sleep because it’s hard to find a comfortable place to lay her head.  Infection can also cause fevers. To prevent infection, parents should make sure to clean the earring and piercing site as directed.

When young children wish to get their ears pierced, timing should also be considered. Many sporting teams will not allow earrings to be worn on the field because they become a risk for the player with the piercing as well as other players.  Timing the piercing for a time when your child will have 4 weeks to leave the earrings in can avoid disruptions in athletic endeavors and reduce the risk of piercing problems.  Taking earrings out before the recommended time can cause the hole to close, infection, and pain when the earrings go back in, among other things.

Some adolescents and teenagers may dream of getting the upper part of their ears pierced. Piercing the upper cartilage of the ear hurts more than piercing the lobe.  The chance for infection in that area is higher than with an ear lobe piercing, and infections in the upper ear can result in nasty smelling puss being discharged, redness, and swelling.  The swelling can actually deform the ear permanently.  This infection is also typically harder to treat.

One of the most difficult piercing ideas for parents to swallow is the idea of piercing around and in the mouth. While tongue piercing seems to be popular among teens, there are some safety concerns regarding tongue piercings.  According to Dr. Hendry, complications of tongue piercing can include broken or chipped teeth, gum surgery, swallowing the bar which can result in the need for surgery, infection, long term pain, and possibly death. Lip piercing is somewhat safer than tongue piercing because there is less blood loss, but the back of the stud rubs on the gums, which can necessitate surgery in order to prevent tooth loss. These are serious complications that are worthy of in-depth discussion prior to a tongue or lip piercing decision being made.

For teens considering nose piercings, they should be well informed of the dangers associated with them. Nose piercings are dangerous because the nose’s primary function is to filter out germs and bacteria.  According to the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) infection is the leading risk in nose piercings.  According to a study done at Rutgers and Texas Tech 46% of college students that got a body piercing had some problems with infection.  That’s almost 1 out of every 2 people so the odds are very high that those with nose piercings will encounter medical complications.

All body piercings come with risk for Hepatitis C, skin, blood, and bone infections, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  This staph infection is resistant to antibiotics and very hard to treat.  If any pain, drainage, or swelling occurs seek medical attention as soon as possible.  There are some conditions that can be easily treated if caught early enough.

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