BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recent study highlights the high number of children who end up in the emergency room after suffering injuries from cotton swabs. Around 12,500 kids are injured each year after using earbuds, and around 34 need treatment each day.
The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, also discovered that most of the injuries occurred while these children were having their ears cleaned with cotton swabs. Researchers say that this method is risky, and advise parents to use different cleaning ways, which are safer for kids.
People are not aware of the appropriate ear cleaning methods
Kris Jatana, the lead author of the study, says that people are not informed properly regarding ear canals and possible cleaning methods. The ear canals are usually self-cleaning, but most people choose to use unconventional ways to clean them.
One of the biggest misconceptions revolving around this issue is the fact that ear canals should be cleaned with cotton swabs. Besides from not removing wax, these applicators with cotton tips push the wax closer to the ear drum and might cause serious injury.
Therefore, Jatana and other colleagues decided to develop this study and prove cotton swabs were bad for ear cleaning. They analyzed data collected between 1990 and 2010 and found 263,000 cases of children who needed emergency treatment after suffering cotton swab injuries.
Most children were using cotton swabs on their own at the time of the injury
Around 73 percent of these injuries occurred during cleaning, 10 percent while children were playing with the cotton swabs, and 9 percent when they fell while having an earbud in their ear. Also, in most cases, children were using the cotton swabs themselves, but injuries also occurred while their parents were doing the cleaning.
Older children usually receive less serious diagnoses, such as foreign body sensations, which account for 30 percent of the accidents on average. On the other hand, children younger than eight tend to suffer more serious injuries, such as perforated ear drums, which occur in 25 percent of the cases.
Researchers and doctors warn people to be careful with ear cleaning methods, as most of them are risky and might cause injuries. The only safe methods are either leaving the ear canal clean itself, or use FDA-approved products with carbamide peroxide.
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