A lot of people worldwide have various reasons to get their tongue pierced. Generally, the wound caused by this piercing heals quite quickly. However, a chance of getting the pierced tongue infection is always possible, since this part of the mouth is extremely sensitive. There are also numerous bacteria residing on the site, which elevate the chance of infection on the piercing-induced open wound. Knowing early signs of pierced tongue infection will enable you to perform proper treatments and medications which inhibit it from getting worsened.
Signs of pierced-tongue infection
In non-infectious piercing open wound, the pierced site should heal within 6 to 8 weeks. Swelling and a little bleeding are normal to occur during the first days or weeks. These, however, should vanish afterwards. Since the piercing is categorized as an open wound, it is easy to be infected by various bacteria residing in the mouth, especially with improper post-piercing wound care. Common symptoms clarifying the possibility of infected piercing include:
Normal post-piercing swelling should last only during the first days after you get the tongue pierced. However, if this swelling persists, you should be aware that it might be a sign of infection. With infected piercing, the swelling will inhibit speaking comfortably and cause elevating pain.
Slight redness occurring during the first days after having a piercing done is definitely normal. However, this should not be accompanied by bad swelling and pain. If you experience redness and red streaks around the pierced site which is accompanied by painful sensation, the piercing may be infected.
Since a piercing is basically an open wound, it is not uncommon to experience light bleeding right after the procedure is done. However, if the bleeding stops and re-occur some days later, it might be a sign that the piercing is infected, especially if the bleeding is accompanied by swelling and redness around the piercing.
Fever or chills
Extreme elevating or falling body temperature which happens during tongue piercing healing is a sign that something is going wrong in the healing attempt. High fever or the sensation of chills is the sign of infection which is triggered by the tongue piercing.
Infected piercing usually excretes some unusual discharge—yellowish liquid which can be a blood-pus mixture. Seek immediate medical assistance once you spot this discharge on your pierced site.
Tightness and pain
An infected piercing is usually swollen. This causes tightness and discomfort on the pierced area. If this is what happens, you might want to seek medical help without attempting to take the stud off. Doing so triggers the risk of bleeding and more severe infection.
Swollen lymph nodes
Infectious tongue piercing also causes swollen lymph nodes, which is located around the neck. This might result in a difficulty of swallowing. Besides, swollen lymph nodes also causes discomfort when moving the neck, eating, and speaking. If you can feel the swelling with your hands, it is probable that you have an infected tongue piercing.
Preventing infectious tongue piercing
An infected tongue piercing is painful and might put your entire health in danger. Hence, some attempts which can prevent this from happening should be done. There are some methods of prevention which can be used to inhibit infection on healing a tongue piercing.
- Only get your tongue pierced by reputable professionals which use hygienic piercing instruments. Avoid getting your tongue self-pierced, as this might cause bleeding and other unexpected side effects.
- Choose plastic studs rather than the stainless or titanium ones, as the plastic one will gather less bacteria which may cause infection.
- During the healing process—6 to 8 weeks, avoid drinking and eating foods which may inhibit the healing, such as coffee, alcohol, spicy, and acidic foods. Smoking is also need to be avoided until the piercing is fully healed.
- Keep your mouth clean and hygienic during the healing process. This will include rinsing it with saline solution or warm salt-water solution every time after meals to get rid of any left foods, which may invite bacteria and lead to infection. Warm salt water is also a good antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent in promoting total healing.