Dr. Jerald Atlman interviewWhat an awesome time I had with #Nicole Crites, morning news anchor for #CBS 5 in Phoenix! We started out, before the interview, talking about all things ears, nose, and throat.  As is common, the conversation quickly turned to ear wax!  It seems that the general public thinks that Q-tips were made to squeegee out the ear canal from its evil inhabitant – ear wax (also known as cerumen).  I don’t know where or when this ritual began, but it needs to stop.  It seems that not just news anchors use them.  Day after day, patients come in with cerumen shoved against their eardrum (but they “don’t know” how it got down there) or they have an ear infection.  You see, cerumen is formed in glands found in the outer 1/2 of the ear canal,  so when we see cerumen packed down against the eardrum (often with cotton fibers that can be seen with the ear microscope) we know it was pushed down by the battering ram, better known as Q-tips.

My theory is that many adults use Q-tips to try to keep their ears “clean” and their kids see them do this.  Kids then assume that it is o.k. to put things in their ears; many things like beads, Play-Doh, foam, facial tissue, paper and pebbles, to name a few.  They do this because 1) they learned the basics from Mom and Dad and 2) kids will be kids and they like to explore.  Additionally, they are probably told to not put things in their ears and nose, so when they finally do it, they figure that it will be hidden by pushing the object far enough in.

The book, Don’t Stick Sticks In Your Nose! Don’t Stuff Stuff In Your Ears! is a fun, memorable, rhyming book that in a nice and gentle way reminds kids to not put sticks or stuff into their ears or nose.  The fun rhymes bring them back again and again and the message provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to discuss the problem without sounding as if they were preaching.  Enjoy!

Signs that there may be a foreign object in the nose: 

One sided drainage, smelly odor from the nose, nose bleeds and pain.

Watch my interview with Nicole Crites… we may have “cured” her of her Qtip addiction!

Featured image photo credit: Jonah with q-tips via photopin (license)