Cotton-tip swabs send dozens of American kids to the ER daily

Cotton-tip swabs send dozens of American kids to the ER daily

Cotton-tipped swabs that are used to clean ears send almost three dozen American children to hospital emergency departments every day, a new research revealed.

The highest rate of visits to U.S. hospital emergency departments for ear injuries from cotton swabs was found in kids up to age 3.

Study author Dr. Kris Jatana, a pediatric ear, nose & throat surgeon at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said that the findings highlighted the misconception that people need to clean their ears in the home setting.

Speaking on the topic, Dr. Jatana said, “It highlights the misconception that adults and children need to clean the ear canal in the home setting. While cotton-tipped applicators may seem harmless, there are certainly a lot of potential risks to using them to clean the ears.”

As per the researchers’ estimates, a total of 263,338 children under age 18 were taken to U.S. emergency departments from 1990 to 2010 for ear injuries related to the use of cotton swabs.

The annual number of hospital visits for this reason jumped from 9,794 in 1990 to 17,449 in 2001. However, the number gradually fell to 12,911 in 2010.

The research, based on an analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, was detailed in the Journal of Pediatrics.