Swimming pools are fascinating to many just like ear piercings are. However, a common question always bugs people. Can you go swimming after getting your ears pierced? If you cannot now, how soon after?
If you got your ears pierced recently, you should avoid swimming for at least 6-8 weeks which is known for causing infections in the ears. The area is still not entirely healed when you get your ears pierced. Therefore, too much water contact can lead to ear infections.
Why is Swimming After Getting Your Ears Pierced Not a Good Idea?
If you consult a doctor, they will suggest you not to swim for a few weeks after ear piercing or body piercing. The duration of time to avoid submerging and swimming depends on which part of the ears you have pierced. The first condition of the healing process is to let the pierced part dry for a long time, which should at least be 24 hours.
This is the minimum time frame required for the healing to start. However, doctors recommend allowing some more time for the piercing to be adequately healed. This suggestion is not only for pierced ears but also for other new body piercings.
Moreover, new piercing heals depending on different body parts. For instance, you will find that the ear lobe dries faster than the belly button.
Most common body piercings require a minimum time frame of six to even eight weeks. And some, like tongue piercings, heal within 2-4 weeks.
What Happens If You Swim After Ear Piercings Before The Piercing Heals?
It is necessary to keep the piercing dry when it’s not healed. Below are some detailed reasons for what happens if you swim after getting a piercing.
Prone to Ear Pain
If you go swimming right after getting a piercing, it may cause a severe infection and pain in your ears. The infection may cause redness or even pus, causing a foul-smelling odor around the piercing area. So, swimming is not the type of exercise or sport you should be doing during this period.
Pool Water May Contain Germs that May Lead to Infection
The reason behind the infection can be multiple. For instance, wetting a pierced body part will delay healing it. So, the risk of infection increases a lot. Moreover, water can contain harmful germs unless it’s a purified swimming pool—harmful bacteria in water cause most ear infections.
Presence of Pool Water Chemicals May Cause Ear Irritation
Most clean swimming pools have chlorine and other chemicals added to the water. After having an ear-piercing, your ears will be pretty sensitive and may react to such chemicals.
These components can also cause you to suffer if you don’t cover your pierced area while swimming. So, it’s recommended to wear a swimming cap or avoid swimming altogether for at least six to eight weeks.
How to Identify Infections in Ear after Swimming
No matter which body part is infected, the symptoms are pretty much similar to usual infections. Here are some of the common symptoms:
The Ear May Turn Red
The infected area would be red and may turn darker in color. Please remember that the color can vary depending on your skin complexion. However, the skin above the infection will have an unusual color. This can be a clear sign of an ear infection.
Infected areas will hurt a lot, and sometimes the pain can be unbearable. Pain is also a common symptom of having an infection. In such cases, it’s highly recommended to consult a doctor as they can provide the best and fast healing medications and treatments.
Swollen Piercing Areas
Your piercing will be swollen, and you may notice some watery discharge from the area, and blood with pus is also not surprising at all. This can also be a clear indication of an infected ear, and you are not advised to go swimming before your ear heals.
How to Heal Ear Piercings Before Swimming
Getting a piercing and ideally letting it heal before going back to swimming is necessary. Here are some of the recommendations that our healthcare experts have explained:
Avoid Frequent Ear Touching
The first thing to follow is not to touch the pierced area with hands without washing them. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water to get rid of germs. Moreover, you cannot touch the piercings with wet hands as this can also lead to infections.
Clean Your Ear With Saline Solution
It is necessary to clean the area of your pierced ear. You can rely on the saline solution and a clean paper towel to clean the ear piercing and keep it germ-free. Moreover, you can also gently clean the piercings with a clean cloth.
Use Medicated Powders
Sometimes doctors may suggest medicated powders to keep the fresh piercing dry, but you have to clean your hands first. On the other hand, a new piercing may not suit ointment, but after it has healed over time, you can apply prescribed ointments with a cotton bud. Till then, using medicated powders can be an ideal option.
Expert’s Tips and Suggestions
- Over-cleaning the piercing may also cause problems. Cleaning the piercing area entirely once or twice is enough instead of overly redoing it.
- Never use contact lens saline solution or homemade ones on the ears because the ratio present in those saline solutions would harm piercing.
- Don’t apply any harsh chemicals to the piercing during the healing times because those chemicals will damage the existing cells instead of healing the area.
- If you have persistent infections after being cautious, you can still clean the area and help the piercing heal. For example, you can rinse the pierced area with a clean cloth until the discharge comes out clean.
After the discharge begins to come out, make sure to clean it with a cotton bud. Some doctors also prescribe oral medicines to heal ear piercings faster.
- Ensure the diet contains enough antioxidants. Rich in protein, fruits, and vegetables are recommended for faster healing.
- Moreover, soap residue can also increase the risk of infection. So, you can use a waterproof Band-Aid on the new piercings or even use a disposable towel to keep your damp ear clean.
How to Protect Your Ear Piercing While Swimming
If you’re a professional swimmer, you cannot wait for weeks for your piercing to heal and go back to the pool. So, here are a few different ways you can protect your piercing from water and infections:
Use Swimming Caps
A swimming cap is a good solution that protects ear piercing along with hair from swimming pools, streams, or rivers. Make sure the swimming caps you’re buying cover your entire ear. The caps need to reach the ear lobes to cover them and protect them from water.
Neoprene Ear Band
Neoprene ear band is another popular option among swimmers who go back to the pool after getting a piercing. They are waterproof, don’t risk leakage, and provide proper protection. Moreover, they can also be an excellent alternative to headcovers or swimming caps.
Wound sealing waterproof bandage is also possible protection for your ear. Moreover, such waterproof bandages are suitable for covering ears and cover piercing on other body parts like belly buttons or nipples.