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Cotton Buds - Why You Must Not Use Them?

Dr. Jasneer Np 88% (146 ratings)
MBBS
General Physician, india  •  7 years experience
Cotton Buds - Why You Must Not Use Them?

Cotton swabs or cotton buds, are commonly used in our daily lifestyle. Many people use it for various purposes, such as make-up, bacterial culture, and most commonly for extracting wax and debris from the ear. Even though they are sometimes handy in our busy schedule, they usually cause much more harm than benefits.

How are they misused?
Cotton buds are toothpick like pieces made of wood, plastic, or rolled paper, which have cotton stuck at both ends with a roundish edge. It came into existence during the 1920s for a safe purpose of ear cleaning by Leo Gerstenzang, when he saw his wife cleaning their baby’s ear with a toothpick. And, til now they are used by the general population for ear cleaning, but these hardly remove the outer debris which is stuck near the outer edges. Impressing it inside the ear canal only does further damage, by forcing the inner wax further inside. Sometimes extensive force also causes damage to the ear drums.

How does it cause the damage?
Applying a tool like the cotton bud inside the ear with hands usually creates a force that impresses upon the eardrum, also accumulating the surrounding earwax to that area, resulting in impaction of the wax. The force applied most often, if not always, causes a damage to the ear drums, which might cause severe pain, also leading to leakage, causing improper balance, deafness, and certain similar abnormalities.

Alternative measures
Although we are worried about cleaning our ears, it doesn’t really require our notice, since our usual showers allow an adequate quantity of water to enter the ears and clean the accumulated debris automatically. The structure, in which our ear canal is designed, is usually naturally assisting in cleaning up the unusual wax around the ear.

If there is an uncontrollable build up of earwax that is not cleaned off normally, you can always consult an ENT or any general physician and get it cleaned under medical surveillance, which is best advised.
Doctors and medical practitioners all around the world have been trying to spread the message of preventing the use of cotton buds for ear cleaning. It is important that the message reach the greater part of the population. Spread it to your family, your closest friends, their friends, and as further, you can reach!

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