Holes through inner conch dangerous
Since she got her first piercing at age 10, Samanthahas been fascinated with putting holes in her lobes.
However, when she got the fifth hole in her left ear, two weeks ago, something went terribly wrong. "In one week, I went through a 50-pill bottle of Panadol and Advil," she told Flair, recounting the difficulty she experienced with the latest piercing.
Having her inner conch pierced was her mission for the past month, and she finally found what she thought was a reputable establishment in St Catherine that had the equipment (big gauge piercing needle) and the appropriate earring (barbell).
The day after her piercing, it felt tight and uncomfortable, but when she contacted the establishment, she was told not to worry. "I did my own research and I had a little crusting which was good, but then it had some pus." All this time, she was using the sea salt she was given to clean it. "A week in, it was getting worse, so I went back to see her and her first response was, 'how it look so?'. I immediately knew that was not good. She was saying it looked infected and she had some ointment I could use, but I went to the doctor immediately."
The doctor confirmed that Samantha's ear was indeed infected. "She (doctor) recommended that I take it out and let it heal and then redo it if I so choose." However, the area was too tender for her to take it out. She had it loosened and her father was able to snip off a piece to give her some relief. She is currently taking the antibiotics the doctor recommended and waiting for some relief.
Kerry Spencer of Salon Innovation, New Kingston Shopping Centre, notes that the inner conch piercing is very popular in Jamaica. But it is also a very delicate area as veins are involved. So care should be exercised when getting it pierced. "There are veins involved and more tissue, which is why the needle is used." She explains that it takes about eight weeks to heal properly but, if cleaned twice a day, it should heal trouble free. In the case of Samantha's mishap, she notes that incorrect size ring could have been used that would account for the initial uncomfortable feeling.
However, she notes that it's obvious that some bacteria was involved. She notes that whenever you are getting any piercing done, there are certain things you should look out for.
Note if the environment is clean.
Is the person doing the piercing wearing gloves?
Sterilising tools should be visible to you, as should be all the equipment being used, including the earring to be inserted.
Ensure that equipment is sterilised before use.
Today, Samantha is anxious for her ear to return to normal. She is uncertain as to whether she will re-pierce her inner conch, but more piercing will definitely be in her future.
Name changed on request.