Piercings are extremely popular so there is a lot of information about the aftercare dos and don’ts. Many swimmers are swimming laps multiple times a week with new piercings and have no issues.
The most common piercings among women are the belly button, nose and earlobe. For guys, nipple, eyebrow and ear piercings are most common. Regardless of where the piercing is, it can become easily infected if not cleaned properly, and for the recommended period of time. Complications of piercings can include allergic reactions and abscesses. According to a study by Northwestern University, 33% of body piercings in England had complications. Medical attention was needed for approximately 13% of piercings.
Throw in the presence of pool water and you have one more thing to worry about. Pools would be a nasty place if it weren’t for the chemicals used to kill bacteria, algae, and microorganisms. Among other conditions, poorly maintained pools can cause dysentery, dermatitis, cholera and other medical illnesses. Ideally, refraining from swimming for a while is the recommendation.
Realistically, staying out of the swimming pool for an extended period of time for a competitive athlete or year round swimmer is not a viable option so the concern about the safety of piercings and swimming in pools is extremely valid.
If you decide to swim right after you have had a piercing (during the healing phase), make sure you know the risks.
- Keeping out of the pool for the 1st 24 hours is a good idea.
- Make sure the pool you will be swimming in has been properly maintained.
- A cap can be used if you have gotten an ear piercing. Silicone caps are very comfortable.
- Make sure you have been keeping up with the cleaning routine recommended by the place you got your piercings done.
- Immediately shower to rinse off the chlorine and then clean your piercing as you have been instructed. A shower in and of itself is not sufficient to clean a new piercing.
- If the area in and/or around the piercing becomes painful, warm to the touch, red or swollen, see a medical professional. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t assume your piercing has healed just because the exterior looks ok. Piercings heal from the outside in.
Ultimately. the decision to swim or not is yours. Always make sure you know the risks if something does go wrong.
*This blog is informational and not to be construed as endorsing swimming with piercings.
Northwestern University – Piercings go Mainstream but Risks Continue