J Pediatr (2017). doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.049
Since 1972, when concerns first emerged, healthcare professionals have warned against using cotton-tip applicators (‘cotton buds’) in the ear—they can perforate the tympanic membrane (ear drum) and lead to impacted ear wax and otitis externa. Yet injuries still occur, according to researchers who looked at the 263 338 children aged less than 18 years with ear problems related to cotton-tip applicators who presented to emergency departments in the USA between 1990 and 2010.
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