LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

Man Started Having Seizures And Forgetting His Close Ones’ Names. A Cotton Swab Was The Culprit!

Date March 27, 2019

Danger lurks even where you least expect it! So, even seemingly harmless cotton swabs can cause a lot of trouble if you disregard the safety rules.

Why can they be dangerous?

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First of all, there are a lot of nerve endings in the ear, so if you push a cotton swab too deep, you risk causing yourself pain and discomfort. Secondly, the skin of the ear canal is covered with earwax and a protective layer of fat, so when you clean it too thoroughly, you risk leaving your ears defenseless against infections. Thirdly, if you reach too deep, you can create a wax plug and push it even deeper, which is fraught with complications. Sometimes the outcome can be completely unpredictable!

Beware of cotton swabs!

A 31-year-old man from the UK was taken to hospital after he collapsed. He was diagnosed with an ear infection caused by a cotton bud stuck in his ear canal! The symptoms of the infection included seizures and vomiting. Later he started forgetting peoples’ names. The patient developed necrotizing external otitis. Most often it occurs in older people, especially those who suffer from diabetes or have a weak immune system. This is not just a pesky infection, it can be fatal!

Man Started Having Seizures And Forgetting His Close Ones’ Names. A Cotton Swab Was The Culprit!Voyagerix / Shutterstock.com

External otitis is an infection or inflammation of the external ear canal that often occurs in swimmers due to excess moisture in the ears. Cotton swabs are also among the causes of external otitis.

Man Started Having Seizures And Forgetting His Close Ones’ Names. A Cotton Swab Was The Culprit!nito / Shutterstock.com

An examination showed that his ear canal was severely inflamed and filled with discharge. There were also abscesses (purulent inflammations) inside the patient’s skull. After a week of intensive treatment, his condition began to improve and the abscesses shrunk. His complete recovery took about 10 weeks.

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And this is not the only instance. There was also a case when a cotton bud got stuck in a man’s ear after he had taken a bath. He lived with it for 2 years, until his hearing started to deteriorate and he realized that it was time to see a doctor. Manufacturers of cotton swabs insist that people use their products for the intended purpose, and advise strongly against the use of cotton buds in the auditory canal!

How to clean the ears without cotton swabs?

Man Started Having Seizures And Forgetting His Close Ones’ Names. A Cotton Swab Was The Culprit!Voyagerix / Shutterstock.com

Whatever you use, keep in mind that you can clean only the auricle, not the ear canal! Here are several alternatives to cotton swabs:

  1. A pinky and a napkin. Cover your little finger with the napkin or gauze and remove wax from the outer part of the ear. The best time to do it is after a shower because warm water helps to soften the wax.
  2. Drops for removing earwax.

If you experience discomfort in your ear, be sure to consult a doctor to avoid unpleasant consequences. And stay healthy!

READ ALSO: Man Grew ‘Mushrooms’ In His Ear. And This Is Not The First Case In Medical History!


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.