Ok. I got a new job. No longer having to search for work seemed to me to be a salubrious condition to get my right ear pierced twice, something which I wanted to do for some time. (Yes, it is intended to make me look gay. Pride season is coming up, and there is a limit to the number of rainbows I can wear at one time.)
Anyway, last Monday I moseyed down to my local Ardene, a costume-jewelry and other assorted millinery shop which mainly caters to young teenage girls (the little-plastic-butterflies-in-the-hair set). I explained my desire and the nice lady sat me down, got out her gun, removed a stud from its hermetically sealed packaging (with gloved fingers), and shot it into my ear, then repeated. She then sold me some aloe vera gel, instructing me to use it every night for a month until the holes heal. I have been doing this diligently.
Now, I got my left ear pierced once with the same procedure about a year ago. Instead of gel, though, I used a hydrogen peroxide solution (the ordinary old drugstore stuff). I have since been informed that it’s a wonder my ear didn’t turn black and fall off.
Anyway, since I got my ear pierced, I noticed that the skin on the lobe is flaking like dandruff (an effect, I understand, of the gel), but also that the site is slightly red occasionally, and is sometimes tender when touched. (This varies from “it stings a little bit” to the normal feeling you get when you press soft skin against a thin metal bar, i.e. not much.)
What really freaks me out is I was quite ill on Wednesday and Thursday - the infamous flu-like symptoms (sore throat (just now clearing up), headaches, aching back, severe fatigue).
How do I tell if I have a piercing infection? How do I keep it from getting worse, if so? Can a minor ear-lobe infection cause a whole-body feeling of ickiness, or is it just coincidence? And is peroxide really the poison that my interlocutor claims it is?