Man, the ear cleans itself with a cotton swab – years later he has a seizure

The 31-year-old Briton is actually healthy – if not for the problems with his left ear would be. For a long time, he has a number of complaints. The ear hurts, he can’t hear properly. Because the symptoms only occur temporarily and then disappear again, so no Worries. Five years ago. Then his condition is deteriorating rapidly.

The young man gets a headache, he is evil and he has problems to remember the name of. Finally, he has a seizure and is brought in the ambulance to the emergency room of a hospital. As the Doctors examine him, he acts confused and dazed.

The doctors make a CT scan of the skull. In the process, they make a disturbing discovery: In the vicinity of the brain, you can find Abscesses, which are filled with pus. You can examine the tissue fluid and find the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The pathogen has triggered in the man an Otitis Externa. This is an inflammation of the outer ear canal tissue. The disease occurs most often in swimmers, as the water may wash bacteria into the ear canal.

Pus in the skull

Otitis Externa is treated well, but the man suffers from a particularly severe Form: The bacteria were in the interior of the Skull penetrated, hence the neurological symptoms. In addition, the inflammation had already led to the death of the cells. The exact diagnosis is, therefore, “necrotizing external Otitis”.

How could it come to severe infection? In the ear of the man, the Doctors finally found the possible culprit: a piece of cotton wool, which had resolved, apparently, by a cotton swab. How long the foreign body stuck in the ear, is unclear. The duration of the complaints, it would have to have been years.

Cotton swabs don’t belong in your ear

The Doctors remove the cotton wool, and administering to the patient for eight weeks of antibiotics. To therapy: “After the completion of the antibiotic treatment the patient was well, the neurological discomfort and also ear discomfort had disappeared,” write the Doctors in the journal “BMJ case Reports”. “First of all, he now uses no cotton swabs to clean his ears.”

Doctors have been warning for a long time of the dangers of cotton swabs in the ear. The swab earwax pushing against the eardrum. So can form a stopper. In addition, the hard inner part can hurt the skin of the ear canal. Possible consequences: painful inflammation and eczema. It is better, therefore, the outer ear with a soft cloth to clean.

Sources: BMJ Case Reports / medical journal