Why You Should Never Pierce Your Upper Ear Cartilige

Upper ear piercing or helix piercing are sexy but they are very dangerous. In about one times out of ten an infection will develop.
My wife had an upper ear piercing about six months ago and it never completely healed. Because she works around small children it was often bumped and tugged at with dirty, small hands. At six months she the infection began to spread outward into the ear cartilage.
The whole upper part of the ear became very swollen, about half as much again as the other ear, and small red bumps began to appear along with large nodules under the skin and along the back side of the ear in the lymph nodes.
She went to her general practice physician who told her the infection was most likely caused by a bacterium called pseudomonas aeruginosa and he prescribed an antibiotic called fluvoxin. It was not effective and she went back to the doctor about a week later, this time an ENT or ear, nose and throat doctor, who prescribed Cipro and bactrim. This began to have an effect and the ear began to heal.
It is still healing at the time of this writing. If my wife had know about the risk of upper ear piercing she says that she would have never had it done.
Since pseudomonas aeruginosa can live in disinfectant solution used by some salons you need to be very careful. In a recent study in Canada the bacteria was found to be living in a bottle of spray disinfectant. It can even live in diesel since it is anaerobic or able to survive without oxygen.
Check the piercing salon’s sanitization procedures very carefully and ask a lot of questions if you are considering having it done. Keep an eye on your ear daily and if you see it begin to swell or turn red go to your doctor at once.
The sooner you begin to treat the infection the better.
If an upper ear piercing is left untreated you can lose the cartilage in the ear and it will be permanently disfigured. Your only option then will be plastic surgery to restore the ear to more or less it’s original shape.
So there you have it. An upper ear piercing can be very dangerous indeed and if you are still considering one proceed at your own risk.
For more about upper ear piercing infections see the following articles:

Upper Ear Piercing Danger

How to Deal With An Upper Ear Piercing Infection