According to a recent study, 12,500 children are sent to the hospital each year for injuries resulting from the use of cotton-tip ear cleaning products.
Commonly known as Q-Tips, the cleaning devices can sometimes do more harm than good.
“The two biggest misconceptions I hear as an otolaryngologist are that the ear canals need to be cleaned in the home setting, and that cotton tip applicators should be used to clean them; both of those are incorrect,” co-author of the study, Dr. Kris Jatana said in a statement, noting that ear canals are typically self-cleaning.
Of those sent to the hospital or emergency room, 10% of injuries occurred when children were playing with the applicators, and 9% when they fell with the cotton tip applicator in their ears.
Some experts believe that using a Q-Tip actually just pushes wax deeper into the ear canal and closer to the ear drum. By doing so, the risk of hurting the ear is increased.
Most of the children injured were under the age of 8 years old. 99% of those seen in the ER from the injuries from the product were treated and released.
“These products may seem harmless, but this study shows how important it is that they not be used to clean ears,” Jatana said.
So, what do you think about this? Do you use Q-Tips? Do you find them helpful or do you think they are hazardous?
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