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Cartilage Piercing Is Swollen

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So I got my cartilage pierced just over four months ago. Everything was fine, no major pain, bleeding, or any sign of infection.
I changed the piercing a few times for comfort and safety, because one of my earrings got quite uncomfortable. My piercing wasn't exposed for a long time as I was changing over, maybe 5 seconds or so each time.
Because I'm a student, my school rules are particularly strict. I was asked to remove it one day, and had to do so. After maybe 2 or 3 minutes with no earring in, it had become majorly swollen, and it was very visible. The area of swelling was about a centimetre each way from the piercing site. It wasn't painful, but because of the sudden change, it made me worried.
After about 25 minutes of me panicking, I put my earring back in, only to find that after about 10 to 15 minutes, the swelling was gone. Completely.
As of now, I'm still completely baffled. Is it infected? Is that just part of the healing process? Can anyone shed some light on the situation? Thanks!
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