ANNAPOLIS – Cotton swab users beware: flagrant violation of manufacturers’ warnings could leave you with wadding in your ear.
An analysis of a Food and Drug Administration database revealed more than 100 cases between 1992 and 1997 where cotton swab misuse may have attributed to a serious injury.
The majority of those cases were the result of people flouting manufacturer’s orders and boldly using the cotton swab to clean their ears. Some of these sufferers were even forced to seek medical attention when the cotton tips of the swab got stuck in their ear.
Of course, the public will never know how many new cases of unsafe swab use there are. The FDA has changed the classification of this event in its “Medical And User Facility Device Experience” database, so manufacturers are no longer required to report swab malfunctions.
In order to ensure the safety of medical devices, the FDA requires manufacturers to report any malfunction, injury or death that may be connected to their product’s use. The records are used to detect potentially life- threatening defects in products used in hospitals and nursing homes.
Here is an example of the peril of swab use from the FDA records: “User inserted swab into ear canal and tip became lodged in ear canal, requiring medical attention to remove tip to prevent infection.”
The whole ordeal easily could have been prevented had the “user” heeded the advice provided by the maker before the reckless use of the product.
“The event resulted from misuse of the device in that it was inserted into the ear despite package label warning not to do so,” the report continued.
It is unknown whether the unfortunate swab user made a full recovery following the incident.