Tongue Piercings & Infection

Written by natalie saar
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Tongue Piercings & Infection
Tongue piercings can occasionally become infected. (woman with a stud image by forca from Fotolia.com)

Body piercing is common among adolescents, and there are many different places people can be pierced. While the ears are a common location for piercings, other places include the nose, lip and tongue. While most piercings heal without incident, some might become infected. Tongue piercings are no exception.

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Why Get Pierced?

There are many reasons people get their tongues pierced. Some feel it is a form of self-expression, while others claim that it gives more sexual pleasure to their partner. Still others get tongue piercings because they feel they are artistic.

Preventing Infections

When a person gets her tongue pierced, she should receive a sheet from the piercer detailing how to care for the piercing. The treatment includes putting an ice pack to the mouth to reduce the swelling that can occur from the piercing. Avoiding alcohol and spicy foods will help the healing process along, too. Tobacco should be avoided, and using mouthwash and warm water also can help the wound to heal.

Infection Transmission

It is important to make sure that the piercer sterilises the jewellery and the needle used to do the piercing. An infection is transmitted when the needle or piercing has come into contact with a person who had HIV, hepatitis (A, B or C) and other diseases that can be transmitted orally. Since tongue piercings come in contact with blood and other bodily fluids, the person being pierced can easily become infected.

Infection Signs

Infections from tongue piercings are caused when bacteria builds up in the wound. The signs of an infected tongue piercing include an increase in swelling or pain and redness in the area where the piercing was done. Pus coming from the wound and red streaks coming out from the area where the tongue was pierced are other signs to look for. If the infection goes on for a long time, the person can become septic. A fever is one of the signs of sepsis a person would notice.

Treat Infection

If an infection occurs, remove the jewellery immediately. Rinse with warm saltwater to help clean the wound. If the wound does not get any better, see a doctor. Antibiotics may be needed to help the piercing heal.

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