Please kill the bug.
June 19, 2018 10:11 AM   Subscribe

There's a bug in my ear. My doctor gave me eardrops and told me that they would kill the bug. They have not killed the bug. The bug is now moving constantly and has been for an hour. PLEASE HELP ME KILL IT.

This is the worst thing to ever happen inside my skull! It's moving constantly and it hurts quite a lot! Have you successfully killed an ear bug? Please let me know how! I really hate this!

You are not my doctor or exterminator, I know, I know.
posted by a hat out of hell to Health & Fitness (48 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
That is disgusting, I am so sorry. Now you have me curious about how that could happen. I wonder if this would help (from WebMD):

You can also make eardrops at home. Just mix a half-teaspoon of white vinegar and a half-teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and pour it into each ear. Then let it drain out. Don't put eardrops in your ear if you have had any ear pain, ear surgery, or have a tear in your eardrum (perforated eardrum).

posted by koolaidnovel at 10:18 AM on June 19, 2018


Dude this is urgent care status stuff, screw the drops

Can you go to urgent care right now???
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2018 [60 favorites]


can you lay on your side and pour saline in your ear (or have someone do it) in the hopes that the bug will drown and/or float out of your ear? That's what we did one summer when a mosquito flew into somene's ear.

On preview, yes, what Hermione Granger said.
posted by needlegrrl at 10:22 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Have you tried shining a bright light in? Chances are it's moving around trying to find a way out.
posted by kate4914 at 10:22 AM on June 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


If you're in pain, hit up an urgent care/medpoint.
posted by wwax at 10:25 AM on June 19, 2018


I already went to urgent care, which is when I was given the drops and told to return in a few days to flush everything out. Unfortunately I'm going to have to decline his medical opinion as I may claw my ear off if I have to wait a few days.
posted by a hat out of hell at 10:25 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Fuck this. I would go to the ER or another urgent care and demand they take it out or kill it now. (At my urgent care it is different doctors that do rounds too.)
posted by Crystalinne at 10:29 AM on June 19, 2018 [55 favorites]


I would pour mineral oil in that ear. This should cut off the bug's air supply. Lay on your side for a while so the ear stays full of oil.
posted by H21 at 10:29 AM on June 19, 2018 [8 favorites]


I second the saline solution. Used successfully in the past.
posted by beccaj at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Try this, from mayo clinic:

If the foreign object is an insect, tilt the person's head so that the ear with the insect is upward. Try to float the insect out by pouring mineral oil, olive oil or baby oil into the ear.

posted by koolaidnovel at 10:31 AM on June 19, 2018 [13 favorites]


You can go back early and let them know in no uncertain terms that you are in pain.
posted by amtho at 10:48 AM on June 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine went through this originally, ignored it, then got so bad she had to go to the emergency room. I won't share the details but it was really, really hard for them to extract the bug mechanically and was very upsetting. In retrospect she wished she'd gone sooner and she wished she'd gotten a Valium or Xanax or something first to calm her.
posted by Nelson at 10:55 AM on June 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


seconding kate4914, having someone shine a light in to guide it out worked for me
posted by icy_latte at 10:58 AM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah, either go back to that urgent care and ask for a second opinion, or go somewhere else. Make sure they understand what's going on now.
posted by Etrigan at 10:58 AM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


IANAD. This guy used hydrogen peroxide. (CW: Link contains article about a guy who had a roach in his ear.)
posted by foxjacket at 10:59 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


This post is making me itchy.

I had a spider in my ear once when I was a kid. It was terrible and you have my sympathy.

We got it out by flooding my ear with Avon Skin So Soft (because that's what we had). It's basically just mineral oil with smelly stuff in it.

I agree with the other folks saying to lie on your opposite side and fill up your whole ear hole with oil. Drown the bastard and bring him to the surface.

yeeshshchchhhhhh
posted by phunniemee at 11:06 AM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would use a vacuum cleaner, but then I have very bad judgment and take many unnecessary risks.

DO NOT DO THIS. Think of your eardrum, and the damage to your hearing! Even if it didn’t perforate your eardrum, having something that loud right up to your ear could do serious damage.

I agree with other commenters that you should see a different medical provider and get this extracted now. Use the phrase “I am in so much pain that I am unable to function.” Do not allow them to not take you seriously.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2018 [49 favorites]


Data point: I have put peroxide drops in my ear with no ill effects. But it was to allow water to get out of my ear. I am not sure what would happen with a bug. I would guess it would die and there would be fizzing.
posted by zennie at 11:11 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've used an ear syringe and warm water.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:16 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also: given that you have not shared with us the ingredients of the ear drops you have already tried, it would be incredibly unwise to put more substances into your ear based on advice in this thread. Please, go to a professional.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:17 AM on June 19, 2018 [47 favorites]


When this happened to me, it was treated as an urgent issue. I went to a clinic that tried and failed to remove it using tweezers. They made an appointment for me at another medical office across town that had a special tool that was a combined light, microscope, and tweezery thing, usually used for kids who stick crayons in their ears. They were able to remove it instantly, and then they cleaned out my ear and gave me antibiotic eardrops. It turned out to be a largish beetle that wriggled all the way back to my eardrum and was scratching it.

I think you should call the doctor you just saw and clarify how miserable you are and ask what they can do.
posted by heatvision at 11:30 AM on June 19, 2018 [28 favorites]


Have you tried shining a bright light in? Chances are it's moving around trying to find a way out.

Some bugs are attracted to light. If your bug is one of those, then it may move towards the light.

Some bugs will move away from light. If your bug is one of those, then it may move further into your ear canal.

Some bugs, like mosquitos, are repelled by certain wavelengths of light. For example, mosquitos will move away from yellow or red light.

In your shoes, I wouldn't shine a light in my ear unless I knew what kind of bug it was.
posted by zarq at 11:42 AM on June 19, 2018 [19 favorites]


Also, DON'T flush your ear with water. I agree with ocherdraco that you shouldn't add mineral or baby oil into your ear after using drops with unknown ingredients.

But mineral oil is the liquid to use, not water. As explained above, it kills the bug by cutting off its air supply. Water will not kill the bug as quickly, and worse, it may agitate the darn thing.

An agitated insect in one's ear canal could be really problematic. Bugs can bite, scratch or may even have pincers. It may start to flail around. You don't want it reacting that way inside your sensitive ear canal so near your eardrum.
posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wtf ???!!!! They looked in your ear, confirmed there was a LIVE bug and then sent you home with a LIVE bug in your ear ? Sorry to be all gOT but SHAME.

At this point go to the ER and ask that they remove it. You might be waiting a long time but for fucks sake! I’m so sorry.
posted by pintapicasso at 11:58 AM on June 19, 2018 [15 favorites]


A friend had a bug fall in her ear while she was sleeping and they removed it in the ER with a combo of oil and special tweezers. Nthing the suggestion to go to the ER (not urgent care). This is a serious situation.
posted by anastasiav at 12:05 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am here to tell you that ER staff have - in the past month - sent home a colleague with a pulmonary embolism and a relative experiencing hypertensive crisis. If you do not feel that your need has been properly taken care of, this internet stranger says it is ok - and sometimes necessary - to go back and INSIST on proper care. Switch hospitals if necessary. You have a bug in your ear. A medical professional needs to get it out, not you.

And please let us know once it's out, or I'll wake up in the middle of the night months from now and sit bolt upright in bed, worried about this. Yikes.
posted by pammeke at 12:12 PM on June 19, 2018 [38 favorites]


When I had a fungal ear infection, the ENT vacuumed out the debris using a tiny ear-vacuum. That would be a nice thing for you right now.

A real emergency room, as opposed to urgent care, should have an ENT on call, but if you are in the US you could end up with a large bill that way.
posted by chromium at 12:13 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you are in pain, it's possible the bug has scratched your skin. Please don't attempt to put any irritants into your ear that could end up causing you more pain or further damage (like the vinegar/rubbing alcohol combo at the top).
posted by acidnova at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2018


Update: I was all set to try mineral oil then read Nelson’s comment and panicked. I called 6 ENTs, found one with an afternoon opening, and she kindly pulled A MOTH out of my ear. A FUCKING MOTH. A MOTH THAT WAS IN MY SKULL. WHY.

Thank you all for your assistance in this trying time!
posted by a hat out of hell at 12:22 PM on June 19, 2018 [343 favorites]


Make sure to give the original doctor a really bad review.
posted by AFABulous at 12:33 PM on June 19, 2018 [74 favorites]


There's a Rod Serling Night Gallery episode you might want to skip watching.
posted by sageleaf at 12:36 PM on June 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


Thanks for the update, and I’m so glad you find a doctor. That sounds so, so awful.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:39 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Now that the MOTH is out of your HEAD I can tell the story about the time a friend got a moth in her ear during a retreat in the woods. After calling 911 (no urgent care option), and while waiting, her friend trying to comfort her thru this trying time suddenly yelled that she too had a moth in her ear! ER people took them both to the ER for moth removal. The end.
posted by heyforfour at 12:57 PM on June 19, 2018 [33 favorites]


> zennie:
"Data point: I have put peroxide drops in my ear with no ill effects. But it was to allow water to get out of my ear. I am not sure what would happen with a bug. I would guess it would die and there would be fizzing."

I do peroxide periodically as an adjunct to cleaning. I have be assured by doctors this is perfectly safe.
posted by Samizdata at 1:20 PM on June 19, 2018


Good lord I work in an otolaryngology dept and we would never send someone home with any foreign object in their ear! That’s crazy!

Also for future reference, water is bad because it can bloat the bug, making it harder to remove. Oil or peroxide is better.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:25 PM on June 19, 2018 [43 favorites]


[One comment deleted; if you want to contact a member you can do that privately using MefiMail.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:25 PM on June 19, 2018


Thank you for the update. I'm so glad it's resolved. We had a screen open yesterday evening and I had to stay awake until *all* the moths and things were dispatched and this is why.
posted by theora55 at 4:05 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Thank you so much for updating this and letting us know that you are still alive!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:16 PM on June 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


BUT IS THERE A PICTURE OF SAID MOTH
posted by Omnomnom at 12:09 AM on June 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


This thread may make wearing earmuffs in summer fashionable.
posted by Cranberry at 12:42 AM on June 20, 2018 [10 favorites]


Once, when I lived in West Africa, I was walking down the street on a warm day, swatting flies away, when one of them landed on my earlobe. I absentmindedly went to brush it away, and the damn thing went right into my ear. It's an unsettling feeling, I know. Well, I did not have easy access to doctors or hospitals at the time, so I decided it would probably come out on its own, and after a little while, I could feel it coming towards the outer part of my ear. Not wanting to scare it back inside, I asked my girlfriend to look. She screamed.

Because it was not a fly. It was a giant spider. Way bigger than should have been able to fit inside my ear.
posted by Nothing at 3:30 AM on June 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


Make sure to give the original doctor a really bad review.

Seconding the above strongly. So glad you're ok, and please, *please* write a letter to the regional manager of the company running the facility you first went to. That doctor needs retraining.
posted by mediareport at 6:57 AM on June 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I want to salute you - and a disturbing number of y'all - for living through my worst nightmare. I'm prepping a syringe of mineral oil to carry on my person at all times like an epipen now and entering a full-time earplugging lifestyle thanks this is great.
posted by Freyja at 7:44 AM on June 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


Nothing's anecdote is a Lynchian nightmare and haunts my waking thoughts.

I'm pretty sure I had a moth or something in my ear once when I was maybe seven years old that the doctor took out but I legit don't know if that's a true memory or if years of watching horror movies has implanted the idea in my head.
posted by acidnova at 1:23 PM on June 20, 2018


Why am I still reading this thread when people keep sharing Bugs In Ears stories? WHY?
posted by like_neon at 3:00 AM on June 21, 2018 [13 favorites]


It is not the reading that will freak you out, but the videos of ear vermin/bug extractions that you can readily find... It is nightmare fuel...
posted by jadepearl at 5:18 AM on June 21, 2018


> Why am I still reading this thread when people keep sharing Bugs In Ears stories? WHY?

Why haven't the mods deleted the entire site yet? I have no self control. Help me, mods.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:40 PM on June 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


I had a bug crawl into my ear once during a little league game. It was horrifying. I was maybe 7 or 8 at the time? I’m 44 now and that was still one of the most miserable experiences of my life.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:01 AM on June 24, 2018


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