If you’ve been ignoring advice that you’re not supposed to clean your ears with cotton wool buds anymore, well, this latest story might just make it sink in (no pun intended).
An unnamed British man caught the bacterial infection, necrotising otitis externa, after a chunk of cotton wool became trapped in his ear, eventually working its way up to his skull.
The 31-year-old was diagnosed with the deadly condition after experiencing seizures and collapsing, with the infection reaching his skull.
Dr Alexander Charlton, from the University Coventry Hospital, said that the seizures were likely caused by the infection creating toxins and/or exerting pressure on the man’s brain.
Fortunately, the patient recovered after having a CT scan and minor surgery to remove the piece of cotton.
After spending a week in hospital and two months on anti-biotics, the man’s life has returned to normal, with no permanent hearing or brain damage.
Coverage of the case in the British Medical Journal said: “At 10 weeks, the patient remained well, with no neurological deficit and no residual ear symptoms, and CT demonstrated complete resolution of the intracranial abscesses.”
However, the patient has made it clear he will no longer be using cotton wool buds to clean his ears.