A cotton swab in the ear almost cost the life of a Briton

A 31-year-old Briton who had cleaned his ears with a cotton swab nearly dropped his skin.
The man was hospitalized after being suddenly struck down by convulsions. Doctors eventually discovered that a piece of cotton had lodged in the outer ear canal, causing infection and abscess.

The infection had spread to the mastoid, a skeletal structure of the skull that communicates with the middle ear, and the man needed surgery and intravenous antibiotics to recover, can we read in the medical journal The BMJ.

However, it is not yesterday that we advise the public to clean their ears with a cotton swab.

“The ear does not need daily cleaning,” said Dr. Luc Monette, president of the Association of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery of Quebec. Earwax is essential to the external auditory canal, it is a barrier, it is a natural defense against bacteria and fungi … If there is no more cerumen, the skin can dry (…) and it creates doors of entry to infections. ”

Attempting to clean the earwax may push it towards the bone portion of the ear, where there is no hair left. It may also stick a little too much on the skin and hair, which will ensure that it will no longer bring out the elements, foreign bodies and dust at the channel, which is done naturally.

“The problem is that people use (a cotton swab) and they think they will clean the earwax, but each time they sprout a little, they impact all that, there is always a little color on their external auditory canal, they think they are doing a good job, but the message does not pass (…), “lamented Dr. Monette.

Whether it comes from a cotton swab or elsewhere, he says, a foreign body can cause a break in the skin. The bacteria can then enter and create an infection.

“I have been practicing for 21 years. Foreign bodies in the external auditory canal are seen regularly. Any infection can happen in a healthy patient with a foreign body that stays in the skin for a long time, “he said.

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