For some reason, Q-tips are automatically associated with cleaning the ears. While there is a label on the packaging not to insert cotton swabs into the ear canal, many people regularly clean their ears with Q-tips. It’s important to teach your child from an early age how to use cotton swabs correctly. The ear canal is a sensitive part of the body and should not have foreign objects shoved in.
Learning About the Ear
So what is ear wax? Glands in the ear canal called sebaceous and sweat glands produce ear wax. This wax prevents dust, dirt, and dead skin cells from entering the body. It also prevents dryness, itching, and fungus from growing in the ear. Let your child know that ear wax is natural and part of the body’s defensive system. They do not need to remove it in an attempt to be cleaner.
Equally important to know is the sensitivity of ear canal. The eardrum needs to be able to vibrate for someone to hear correctly and the shoving of ear wax up the canal will prevent this vibrating. If a Q-tip is placed too far within the ear canal, it can puncture leading to extreme pain and hearing loss.
Other Q-tip Uses
You can teach your child that Q-tips have a variety of uses around the home. They can be used for first aid, arts and crafts, and cleaning. If your child does want a way to clean their ears, remind them to only use a cotton swab on the outside of the ear and never close to the ear canal.
Children are impressionable and cotton swabs are often still portrayed as being inserted inside of the ear. Teach your child about the sensitivity of the ear canal and potential dangers of Q-tip misuse.
For more information about pediatric otolaryngology, call us at (208) 367-3320 today!