Man gets skull infection from cleaning ears with cotton buds


A man will think twice about cleaning his ears with a cotton bud after he developed an infection inside his skull from using the disposable instrument.

The 31-year-old British man left behind a small piece of cotton inside his ear while cleaning his ear canal which later moved into his skull, Live Science reported.

The cotton reached the lining of the brain, and although it didn’t enter, the man began suffering from  neurological symptoms such as seizures.

Doctors confirmed the man’s symptoms were most likely caused because of the bacterial infection inside his skull due to built up pressure.

The man developed a bacterial infection that transferred inside his skull after cleaning his ears with a cotton bud. Source: Getty, file.

A CT scan confirmed he had necrotizing otitis externa – a bacterial infection affecting his auditory canal. 

Doctors operated on the man to remove the cotton bud, with the patient undergoing a further two months of antibiotics to kill off the infection.

The man’s unfortunate infection was detailed in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, which revealed he had no lasting damage from the infection.

Ear specialist Dr Alexander Charlton, who operated on the man, told Live Science his patient had learnt his lesson about cleaning his ears with cotton buds.

“They can only cause problems,” Dr Charlton said.

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