Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning or handling any piercing, especially if the piercing is 'fresh', or experiencing complications.
The best and simplest kind of cleaning solution is Saline solution, which is 99% sterile water and 1% pure salt (SodiumChloride). Saline can be purchased at a Chemist, a Pharmacy or made at home. If you make saline at home then you will need to boil some water in a clean pot or pan, pour the freshly boiled water into a container with a lid and then add less than ¼ tea-spoon of pure Sea or Mineral Salt.
Use cotton buds to apply the solution to the area of your piercing and to wipe away any excess fluid or crust that has formed there. Try to make sure that your piercing stays dry.
you should clean your piercing regularly, at least twice a day and sometimes more if you have exerted yourself (i.e. exercise) or if it is hot and you are perspiring/sweating throughout the day.
Be attentive to the changes in your piercing. Catching signs of problems early on is the best time to deal with them quickly. It's also a good way of making sure that you're not over cleaning your piercing.
Once the piercing has healed, you will have an artificial tunnel inside your flesh. This is called a fistula and it also benefits from regular cleaning. Infections can often begin as bacterial growth inside the fistula, so flushing it with saline solution every three or four months (slightly more frequently in the summer months) can help inhibit the build up of germs and bacteria that lead to fungal infections or thrush. Some people's fistula close quite quickly once jewellery is removed so its best to have sterilised jewellery and cleaning solutions to hand so the job gets done quicker. Lubricate the tip, or the 'thread', of the jewellery with a water-based, antiseptic lubricant; approach your piercer, or doctor for suggestions.
Taking a bath soaks an abdominal piercing in bath-water, which gets dirty very quickly, and could clog a fresh piercing with nasty germs. A shower is preferable because it is a constant stream of fresh water, washing dirt, grime and germs away from your body. Swimming in chlorinated pools is likely to irritate your piercing so it's best avoided until the piercing has healed; though seawater is, technically, great for your skin, it would be wise to avoid bathing in beaches with a reputation for having high concentrations of pollutants.
Your clothing can interfere with your piercing in a few ways. If an item of clothing fits too tightly over the area that is pierced, rubbing it, then the piercing becomes aggravated, inflamed and sore to the touch. It will produce a clear puss-like liquid and the skin around the piercing might be encouraged to reject the jewellery. If the clothing you wear is not loose enough to allow fresh air to enter and exit the area around the piercing then the area can overheat enough to allow germs and bacteria to develop and cause you problems. Bear in mind that the location of the piercing might suffer the stresses of everyday activities. People who have their navel pierced, for example, but do sit-ups regularly would be advised that this strenuous activity will aggravate the piercing. Another example might be a parcel courier with a nipple piercing might have to switch the side of the body they hang their bag from.
To give a piercing the best chance to heal you should consider the fact that your body requires certain nutrients and minerals to help it heal effectively. If you can honestly say that you eat a healthy diet then you are already providing your body with what it needs. If you don't eat healthily then it might be advisable to supplement you diet with Multivitamins and minerals which can be purchased at a chemist, a pharmacy or heath shop. The bottom line is; that a healthier person stands a better chance of healing more quickly than an unhealthy one.
THANK YOU! That's a lovely New Year surprise! Hope 2009 is your best ever, and thanks again forAndrew H.