ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Every day 34 children in America are being treated in emergency rooms for injuries to the ear incurred while using a cotton swab.

Kids are learning the practice of trying to clean out their ears with a cotton swab from their parents, but doctors say there’s a reason cotton swab packages warn you not to use them in the ear. Dr. Kris Jatana at Nationwide Children’s Hospital says the cotton swabs only push the wax further back into the ear and it gets impacted. Another common injury is perforation of the ear drum.

“Perforation of the ear drum from the penetrating trauma of the cotton tipped applicator against the eardrum itself,” he says.

Jatana says the ear is designed to clean itself, but if you must, he suggests you use a wet wipe or washcloth to clean the outside of the ear, but never inside the canal, or seek medical advice.

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