Though ear piercings are very common, there are still aftercare instructions that should be followed during the healing period to discourage the formation of scar tissue and prevent infection. As much as you may want to get back to your normal activities right after getting your ears pierced, you should use caution. So, can you swim after getting your ears pierced?
You should not swim after getting your ears pierced for at least 24 hours. Ideally, you shouldn’t swim for the length of the healing period, as submerging your piercing in water can put you at risk of developing an infection.
Of course, there’s more to caring for a new piercing than that, though avoiding swimming is an essential step. But how does avoiding water prevent infection, and what else can you do to take care of your new ear piercing? Keep reading this article to find out!
How Long Does It Take To Heal Ear Piercing?
It is a bit complicated when I say that ear-piercing healing time varies a lot as it depends on the place of the ear that you have pierced.
There are different types of tissues in the ears, and according to WebMD piercing in the earlobes usually takes 6-8 weeks while piercing on the cartilage located at the side of your ear can take 4 months to a year to completely heal depending upon how well you care for it during the healing time. And don’t forget to ask piercing professionals about the healing time for a piercing in a particular ear location.
For that reason, if you want to swim in the coming summer and want an ear or even navel piercing then it is best to do that in winter so that you have enough time for your ears to completely heal to rock on beaches.
Why Does Swimming Put You At Risk?
Bacteria thrive in moist conditions, and many bodies of water are home to microorganisms you don’t want growing in your piercing! Lakes, rivers, and oceans all contain many kinds of bacteria that can easily cause infection—this is even more prominent in lake water, where there may be less flow.
The lakes contain bacteria and on some beaches, rain and excessive waterfowl can increase the E. coil bacteria if you swim in that types of lakes and beaches then it can cause stomach flue-type symptoms and according to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources if E. coil measures above 235 colonies/100ml than there’s a high risk of illness when swimming.
So if there are chances of becoming ill just because of swimming in such lakes why should I suggest you swim for at least a week after ear piercing as the wound can become the home of bacteria and germs.
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Are Swimming Pools Safe?
In short, no. Though swimming pools are treated with chlorine, this doesn’t kill all microorganisms immediately, as some can survive for extended periods inside a swimming pool. So when you’ve just gotten a new piercing, it’s best to avoid these, too!
Though you likely aren’t inclined to dunk your head under the water, you should also avoid hot tubs for the same reason.
How Can I Protect My Piercing Around Water?
Let’s say you want to spend some time at the beach but aren’t planning on dunking your head underwater. Well, just to be extra safe, you can cover your new ear piercing sites with a waterproof bandaid to keep any moisture out! Once you’ve exited the water, be sure to clean your piercing with sterile saline to wash out any nasty germs that may have crept in.
What Else Should I Avoid?
Swimming puts you at risk of infection, and it’s important to clean your piercing after it’s been exposed to water. But what other behaviors should you avoid to take the best care of your new piercing?
- Don’t touch it. You should avoid touching your piercing as much as possible. Your hands can introduce bacteria from the environment into the piercing—just because it’s not dangerous on the intact skin of your fingers doesn’t mean it won’t cause harm to your new piercing! So be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning your piercing!
- Don’t rotate it. Rotating your piercing can encourage the formation of scar tissue and remove any scabs that have formed, leaving an opening for bacteria to enter. Of course, this also checks in with the first point about not touching your piercing!
- Don’t use harsh cleansers. Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or soaps can dry out your skin too much, creating inflammation and irritation—another way for bacteria to enter your piercing and cause infection.
These are a few points to note but depending upon your body type there may be more precautions that you may need to take so please ask the piercer about all the bits and pieces to follow after the successful ear piercing.
And lastly, don’t worry because my brother does have one ear pierced and it caused him some irritation for 2-3 days but after then it gradually healed within 4-5 weeks and he is now absolutely fine taking a dip in the river. However, you should not take out your jewelry because during the healing period body tries to cover the hole and if you have taken your jewelry during this time even for 1-3 days then you may notice the shrinkage of the piercing.