The nose is not the cleanest part of the body. Your nasal cavities have many different organisms living in them, so it is no surprise that piercings frequently suffer from minor infections. If you take care of your piercing properly, these infections should drain quickly and subside. If you start to get a serious infection, however, you’ll need to go to the doctor and get antibiotics.

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Keep in mind that irritations and even small infections are a normal part of the healing process. Nose piercings frequently take as long as eight months to heal, and in some cases can take even longer. During that time, you will have to deal with oozing, redness, swelling and discomfort.

Use proper piercing care. Get your nose professionally pierced with clean equipment and use a nonreactive metal such as surgical steel or titanium. Clean the piercing site twice a day with mild soap, and soak it in warm salt water to bring down the swelling.

Take preventive measures to keep your nose clean. Do not get dirt on your face, and be sure to wash your piercing carefully after you sweat a lot.

Do not change your piercing jewelry before your piercing heals. And do not remove the piercing–particularly during an infection. Changing the jewelry can further irritate your nose. Removing it can trap an infection inside the piercing, causing it to fester instead of draining properly.

Use an iodine-based antiseptic such as Bactine. Wash your hands and spread the cleanser on the jewelry with a cotton swab. Bactine can help clean the piercing site without irritating it as hydrogen peroxide and other harsh cleansers will.

Avoid things that can harm your immune system or slow down healing. Do not consume more than a little alcohol, eat a healthy diet, avoid caffeine and get plenty of sleep. Many body piercers notice that their piercings tend to become swollen or infected when they get sick, and that minor infections clear up quickly with healthy habits.

Learn to recognize the signs of a severe infection. If you nose starts to discharge yellow or green pus, becomes very hot and swollen or becomes extremely painful at the piercing site, you probably have a serious infection that requires antibiotics. Go to the doctor as soon as possible.