A 31-year-old man developed an infection that spread to his brain after being cleaned with a cotton swab.
The man from England developed a life-threatening bacterial infection affecting his hearing and causing neurological symptoms after the cotton swab got stuck in his ear canal, reported Live Science.
He was rushed to an emergency room after an epileptic seizure and a collapse.
The infection of the man began in his ear canal, continued in the bone located at the base of the skull, and then in the wall of his brain, and although that does not did not go further, a doctor from the ears, nose and throat who treated said it clearly caused neurological symptoms.
The man told the doctors that he was beginning to feel pain, headache, headaches so severe that he was vomiting and was starting to have trouble remembering the names of the people.
But it was after five years of ear pain, hearing loss and severe ear infections on the same side.
Dr. Alexander Charlton told Live Science that he suspected that the seizure was caused either by the toxins from the infection or by the pressure exerted on the brain by the infection.
A CT scan revealed two abscesses in the man's skull, adjacent to his left auditory canal, indicating to the doctors that although the infection had probably started in his ear canal, it had obviously spread.
Doctors have diagnosed necrotizing otitis externa, a soft tissue infection of the part of the ear from the outside to the ear.
During a minor surgical procedure, doctors explored his ear canal, found the tip of the cotton swab and removed it. They said that he had been hit and surrounded by wax and debris, which led them to believe that he had been there for some time.
After two months of intravenous and oral antibiotics, the man had no more problems with hearing or thinking.
Charlton stated that it is not uncommon for cotton swabs to be associated with ear infections and advised the man to stop using them.
"They can only cause problems," he said.
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