Cotton swabs are really nifty things to have. You can use them to clean your ears, remove eye makeup and even get the gunk out from your keyboards. But sometimes, these little things can also be the cause of big problems. Like what happened with a 31-year-old man from England.
A small bit of the cotton bud got stuck in his ear canal after he cleaned his ears with it. He had headaches, pain in his left ear as well as some discharge. 10 days later, he suffered a seizure and had to be rushed to the hospital.
How did it get so serious?
According to Live Science, he was treated at University Hospital Coventry in England by ENT specialists. His CT scan showed that he developed a bacterial infection due to the cotton which rapidly spread to the lining of his brain. The infection cause inflammation and neurological issues.
A team of doctors surgically removed the cotton and advised him not to ever use them again. Dr. Alexander Charlton said that,
“They [cotton swabs] can only cause problems.”
These include punctured eardrums, ear infections and impacted ear wax. After being admitted in the hospital for a week and another two months of antibiotics later, the man is reportedly out of the woods. He doesn’t suffer from any neurological or hearing related problems.
A report in The Guardian reveals that cotton buds tend to push ear wax further inside. It also quotes otolaryngologist Mike Dilkes saying, “The rule that you should not put anything smaller than an elbow in your ear is absolutely right. Ears are self-cleaning.” So, avoid sticking earbuds in your ear.