MAR 20, 2019 9:46 AM PDT

Brain Infection Develops After Man Uses Cotton Swabs

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

A 31-year-old British man had to go to the hospital after getting an infection in his ear that spread to the lining of his skull. After having seizures and collapsing, he was rushed to the hospital where he had to have surgery.

It turned out that a bit of cotton swab he’d used to clean his ears was the culprit. It's thought that some cotton came off and lodged in the ear canal, eventually causing a bacterial infection and abscesses. While the man needed medical assistance and had to spend some time recuperating, he recovered completely. 

The Mayo Clinic reminds people that earwax is actually important; it traps dirt and bacteria and lubricates the ear canal. Cotton swabs are not recommended for cleaning ears, which generally don’t need to be cleaned.

Sources: BMJ, Mayo Clinic

 

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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