A cleansing spray given to people with new body piercings may be behind a series of severe infections, health officials have warned.
Experts are strongly advising people to stop using a common aftercare spray after it was linked to 26 cases of ear infection caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Manufactured by Lion Care Products Ltd, the 100ml bottled spray is widely used in studios across England to clean the wound.
Public Health England (PHE) is now ensuring the product in removed from piercing studios.
An unsafe cleansing spray given to people with new body piercings may cause severe infection, health officials warn
But experts warn there is no consistent brand or label being used on the product, so many may not know they have been using it.
They have also recommended for studios to contact their recent clients with advice to stop using the spray.
The warning from PHE read: ‘The spray may be linked to 26 cases of a severe infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, across England.
Manufactured by Lion Care Products Ltd, the 100ml bottled spray is widely used in studios across England to clean the wound
‘To date all have been ear infections, with the majority of cases occurring in the East Midlands and South East of England.
‘However, the product is known to have been distributed widely across England therefore more cases are likely.’
The cases have occurred in people where piercings were undertaken between mid-July and late August 2016, but experts say more cases may come to light.
Dr Richard Puleston, consultant at Public Health England, said: ‘Infection is not uncommon following piercings, but the particular type of bacteria linked to this outbreak can cause severe infection.
‘It is important that people take extra care in ensuring any piercing is properly cleansed and to follow professional advice available from local environmental health teams.
‘If people are concerned about possible infection they are strongly advised to seek medical attention urgently.’
Investigations are on-going to confirm the link and scientists are continuing to monitor for further cases.
PHE added that anyone with a recent piercing can care for it by using clean hands and a warm saltwater solution.
Signs of infection include swelling, redness, burning, unusual discharge and pain.