What is pus?

Puss is a sign of bad hygiene before, during or after getting a piercing. There are two kinds of puss: thick, creamy, odourless puss or thinner, yellow, greenish, and very smelly puss.

In both cases, puss is a mixture of dead body cells, bacteria and defence cells. It’s in fact the end results of a “battle” that has gone on locally in the body, after the beginning of a wound that has gotten filthy. Cells of the immune system have fought as well against the intruders as the damaged skin cells. In this “battle” perish also some cells from the immune system. Depending of the exact consistence of the puss and bacteria contained by it, puss can take on the form of either thick creamy puss or life threatening, thinner, smelly puss.

One who doesn’t clean the wound, risks to have puss running out of it during a few days. Resuming good care and hygiene can prevent worsening of the situation.

Sometimes puss can build up in the body. A swelling filled with puss can grow which is called an abscess. This is a dangerous, painful build-up of puss that has been caught under the skin and is surrounded by infected tissue. This is often caused by the removal of jewellery on an infected piercing because there is no longer a passage outward for puss and bacteria. The infection is so to speak caught and enclosed within. To heal this there has to be an opening, to facilitate a drain so bacteria and puss can exit. If an abscess stays untreated for a longer period of time one can suffer symptoms such as nausea, pain, fever, cold shivers (symptoms that often occur on other types of infection). These are very serious and need medical care (draining of puss) within 48 hours.