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Source: istock

Man Gets Scary Skull Infection From Using Cotton Swabs to Clean Ears

By Mustafa Gatollari

It's the nightmare scenario your over-protective mom always warned you about: never clean your ears with cotton swabs.

The little sticks with bits of cotton attached to them don't really do much to actually clear your ear of wax. Sure, you might get a satisfying glob on the ear-end after you extricate it from your hearing cavity, but it isn't really doing much to clean out your ear and instead just compounds the wax in most cases.

But that's not going to stop people from using them to clear whatever gunk they think they can get out of their ears with them, and people still do.

Like this 31-year-old British man who developed a bacterial infection by the name of necrotising otitis externa in the lining of his skull because he kept putting q-tips in his ears.

How it happened is the stuff of medical nightmares.

Upon closer inspection, doctors discovered that a shred of cotton wool was lodged in the man's ear and had become infected over time. That infection then traveled up into his skull where it spread to his brain lining and he was rushed to a nearby hospital to have the problem addressed.

That's not the worst part though: it turned out that the man was suffering from symptoms associated with the infection for nearly five years.