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- Durham, North Carolina
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From time to time I may have a small wound that I am not sure it is completely healed. I will bath it in antibiotic cream and then cover with one of those waterproof bandages which I find really do work pretty good. Not for anything major, just minor nicks. Not saying it is the correct way to go (I am the wrong kind of doctor) but so far have never had even a minor infection from it. Location of your piercing may make waterproof bandaid application more difficult
Would it make sense to go on Levaquin prophylactically?
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hi guys! i just got a cartilage piercing today on both ears and i’m going on a diving trip in 8 days time. anybody had any experiences on diving with a fresh cartilage piercing ? :’( read online only after the piercing and found out that it’s prone to infection. i’m thinking will getting an adjustable hood or wearing a swimming cap help?
Basically true but just one clarification. The pinna itself (the part of the ear that sticks out) has excellent vascularization of the soft tissue (skin and fat), and that part tends to heal well from surgical incisions, etc.. But the cartilage (the stiff part of the pinna that does not include the earlobe) gets its blood supply from the perichondrium, which is a layer that surrounds the cartilage itself. Just like in the nose, anything that interrupts the supply from the perichondrium can cause death of the underlying cartilage, with deformity as the dead tissue fibroses (becomes stiff with scar tissue). This is the way that a "cauliflower" ear forms. Trauma (classically from boxing or wrestling) cause a hematoma (a collection of blood) under the perichondrium, interrupting the blood supply to the cartilage. This can also happen with the nasal septum, and draining a hematoma like this is therefore an emergency.
With cartilage piercings, the issue isn't so much blood supply but contamination of cartilage, which can cause infections that can be difficult to treat. Usually, after a few months, the piercing tract has healed over, so the cartilage is no longer exposed to the outside world. But you can definitely have complications like this, with permanent deformity of the ear.
If there is any sign of significant infection, topical antibiotics may not be enough. The treatment is removal of the piercing and oral antibiotics may be required. Generally, for patients over 18, we use fluoroquinolone drugs like Levaquin, since they are one of the few drugs that treat pseudomonas bacteria (a common external ear organism). If you go, maybe get that at home in case you are going someone with no access to medical care, along with a topical ointment.
There really isn't any reliable way of keeping the ear completely dry when diving. As DDM said, I wouldn't rely on anything for that. If anything, a hood or pro-ear mask might make things worse by rubbing against the fresh piercing.
Why wouldn't you use in this case fucidin acid ointment as profylaxis before and after dive? Also isn't fluoroquinolone kinda overshooting it before bacterial swap results. We usually use cephalexin.