A 31-year-old British man collapsed with a potentially fatal infection after getting a cotton bud stuck in his ear.
His symptoms included memory loss, seizures and vomiting, so he was rushed to hospital. When he was examined doctors thought at first that he must have meningitis.
Later, after anaesthetising the patient so they could have a good look inside his ear, they found that it was completely blocked with a nasty discharge and beneath that they found an entire Q-Tip.
The patient also had abscesses inside his skull.
After this thorough examination the medics realised that he was suffering from necrotizing otitis externa.
This infection – which can be lethal – generally affects people who are suffering from diabetes or another condition that weakens their immune system. It’s very unusual in a young healthy adult.
The bizarre case is reported in the British Medical Journal’s Case Reports. After treatment doctors asked the man when he had got the cotton bud stuck in his ear canal. He told them he wasn’t sure, but that he hadn’t been able to hear in that ear for about five years.
After the foreign body was removed and the patient completed a course of antibiotics he made a full recovery.
Please don’t stick Q-Tips in your ear.