Although a piercing is technically a puncture, body piercings do not conform to the understanding of what comprises a puncture wound.
A puncture wound, made by a pointed object, is one which closes and seals after the object is withdrawn. If the object is contaminated with anaerobic bacteria, the bacteria will be trapped in the puncture wound after the object is withdrawn, and the sealing of the wound will exclude oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria thrive in the absence of oxygen.
Using an antibiotic ointment like polysporin on a rusty-nail style of puncture wound presents two problems:
- the antibiotic cannot be placed in contact with the infected tissue, and
- the ointment seals the opening, helping to exclude oxygen.
A body piercing style of puncture, however, is not permitted to close; a piece of body jewelry remains after the piercing is done. An antibiotic ointment, when used, is spread through the interior surface of the piercing, and is used to prevent bacteria from entering the tissues. The interior of a piercing remains an aerobic environment, which is lethal to anaerobes.
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