You might see more piercings on people these days, but keep your hands off.  With around 5,000 germs on your hands, touching a piercing can result in a serious infection. 

“I have also another one on the inside. I have two here, and then my three that I don’t keep jewelry in. And then I have the one that’s on the back of my neck,” Alyssa Winberg said. 

With 16 piercings, Winberg knows keeping them clean is key.

“Who knows the last thing you actually touched and if that was even clean. So I always wash my hands first. Just anti-bacterial soap, basic soap does the trick. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy,” Winberg said. 

Winberg has received the majority of her piercings from Erik Premer and so far, she’s avoided infections. Both say it’s all about taking the proper precautions. 

“We have a sign in here that says, ‘For your safety and ours, don’t touch your piercing.  Seriously, it’s gross,’ and you know, it’s a little bit of a crass statement but at the same time, we kind of wanted it to be a little bit in your face,” Premer said.

Premer says touching your piercing too much will make it heal slower.  You could get irritation bumps, and in some cases, it may have to be removed. 

“I mean it can go all the way as far as transmission of things like MRSA, staph, even herpes of the mouth,” Premer said. 

You can use saline to clean piercings, but Premer warns against over-cleaning.

“If you clean it too much that salt can dry out your piercing, which can also lead to issues such as overly dry skin, redness around the piercing, inflammation,” Premer said. 

You should wash your piercing twice a day and avoid touching it until it is completely healed.

Premer wants people to remember that the care shouldn’t stop when you leave his store.

“I mean obviously you spent the money on it, you want it there for a reason. You’re not going to go get it so that you can infect it,” Winberg said. 

If you’re worried about an infection, Premer recommends going back to where you received the piercing for advice on how to care for it.