Published on 30th September 2016

Three ear piercings

Cheltenham Borough Council is warning people who have recently had body piercings, about an unsafe cleansing spray for aftercare use which may cause severe infection.

The product, linked to cases of serious infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has been provided by piercing studios in many parts of the country. It is a 100ml bottled aftercare saline spray manufactured by Lion Care Products Ltd.

Public Health England believes that the cause of the outbreak could be due to contaminated water used in the saline solution by the product manufacturer.

Sara Ball, senior environmental health officer for Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “Whilst we aren’t aware of any businesses in Cheltenham that do sell this cleansing spray, we’re contacting all salons in the borough to make sure. Any salons found with it in stock will be asked to remove it from sale immediately.

“If residents are unsure about their spray then we’d advise them to stop using it and return it to their local studio. Anyone with new piercings should follow the CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) aftercare guidance and be aware of any signs of infection. If you suspect your piercing might be infected please seek medical help.”

There is no consistent brand or label on the product. Some labels, using only black and white lettering, will have the manufacturer’s trading name, Body Art Supplies, or may carry the Lion Care name. Other studios’ labels will possibly just use their own studio name or brand. If unsure, people should stop using the spray immediately and return it to their local studio.

Further information is available on Public Health England’s website.

For media enquiries, please contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected]

Public Health England’s advice on aftercare following body piercings is to follow the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health guidelines:

  • when checking the pierced area hands should be clean
  • soaking the piercing for a few minutes by submerging the area of skin containing the piercing in a clean bowl containing a warm water solution (1/4 level teaspoon of preferably sea salt to an egg cup or shot glass of warm water
  • alternatively, wetting a clean cloth or gauze in the solution and applying as a warm compress; this will soften any discharge and allow you to clean the entry and exit points of the piercing with a cotton bud or gauze
  • using mild antibacterial solutions and soaps to wash the wound site of an ear piercing; ask your local pharmacist to advise you and always follow the manufacturers’ instructions
  • if irritation, redness or drying occurs discontinue use; antibacterial wash is not suitable for piercings on the nostrils, septum or vertical lips due to the tissue’s delicate nature
  • after cleansing, drying the piercing using only fresh disposable paper towel or kitchen roll; a communal hand or bath towel should never be used