Q:

What should I do if I get cotton stuck in my ear?

A:

Quick Answer

If cotton is stuck in the ear, pull the back of the ear toward the back of the head to straighten the ear canal, tilt the head to the affected side, and shake it gently toward the ground, suggests MedicineNet. If this does not dislodge the cotton, obtain medical assistance.

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Full Answer

A doctor may be able to see the cotton with an otoscope and remove it using tweezers or forceps, explains MedicineNet. He may also apply gentle suction to remove the cotton from the ear, or he may insert warm water into the ear via a catheter in an attempt to flush out the cotton. People should not try these methods at home because improper execution can cause damage to the eardrum or ear canal.

To remove the cotton from the ear successfully, the doctor may need to sedate the patient, especially if the patient is a child, observes MedicineNet. Once the cotton has been extracted, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

The longer the cotton remains in the ear, the more difficult it is to remove it and the greater the chance that infection sets in, notes Cigna. After 24 hours, if attempts to remove the cotton at home are unsuccessful, medical intervention is required.

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