So people have been wearing earrings since time immemorial. But it’s only been fairly recently that sterilized piercing studs or needles and modern antiseptics have been developed. A while back my niece stayed over when she had some fresh earlobe piercings and she had to clean them with benzalkonium chloride and rotate them three times a day.
So in days gone by did people get a lot of nasty infections from non-sterile techniques, and not putting antiseptic on their ears, or is the whole "clean them three times a day overkill, cover your butt, type instructions. Or maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle?