2 doctors weighed in:

Is it safe to use a cotton swab to gently clean the gunk out of my ear? I have otitis externa and am using the ear drops

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Eric L. Weiss
Travel Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: "No!" (well, maybe)

The usual advice for cleaning ears is "nothing smaller than your elbow" goes in your ears.
Eg; NO Q-tips, Bic pen tops, chop sticks, etc. However, you probably have some drainage so gently cleaning the OUTSIDE of your ear would be fine, but I would avoid putting anything in the ear canal. Doing so, while tempting, usually just makes things worse by jamming the canal full of wax.

In brief: "No!" (well, maybe)

The usual advice for cleaning ears is "nothing smaller than your elbow" goes in your ears.
Eg; NO Q-tips, Bic pen tops, chop sticks, etc. However, you probably have some drainage so gently cleaning the OUTSIDE of your ear would be fine, but I would avoid putting anything in the ear canal. Doing so, while tempting, usually just makes things worse by jamming the canal full of wax.
Dr. Eric L. Weiss
Dr. Eric L. Weiss
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