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7 Things Your Earwax Could Reveal About Your Health

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Earwax helps protect the ear and keep it clean and healthy. Read this before you pick up that Q-tip.

‘Normal earwax ranges from light orange to dark brown, but if it’s yellow, green, white, or black, that suggests an infection and you need to see a doctor,’ says Benjamin Tweel, MD, an otolaryngologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Infections can just ‘pop up,’ with doctors unable to pinpoint the exact cause, but things like swimmers ear, where water remains in the ear, can also trigger an ear infection.

Your earwax is flaky

If your earwax and ear canal skin is flaky and dry, it could actually be eczema. 'People can actually get eczema in the ear, too, but it’s pretty easily treated,' says Dr. Tweel. This earwax consistency, possibly accompanied by soreness, could also be a sign of psoriasis, though this is less common. 'Patients usually already know they have this because they’ll see rashes elsewhere, but it’s definitely worth bringing up,' he says. These remedies can give you <a href='https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/home-remedies-for-eczema-psoriasis/1'>eczema and psoriasis relief</a>.

If your earwax and ear canal skin is flaky and dry, it could actually be eczema. ‘People can actually get eczema in the ear, too, but it’s pretty easily treated,’ says Dr. Tweel. This earwax consistency, possibly accompanied by soreness, could also be a sign of psoriasis, though this is less common. ‘Patients usually already know they have this because they’ll see rashes elsewhere, but it’s definitely worth bringing up,’ he says.

Your earwax smells

Your earwax should never have an odor; if it does, that signals an infection. 'In my experience, it’s the patient who notices a smell, but it’s very possible other people might bring it up as well,' says Dr. Tweel. 'Regardless, it needs to be treated.'

Your earwax should never have an odor; if it does, that signals an infection. ‘In my experience, it’s the patient who notices a smell, but it’s very possible other people might bring it up as well,’ says Dr. Tweel. ‘Regardless, it needs to be treated.’

Your earwax drips out

If your ear feels wetter after a workout, that’s probably just sweat, but if you wake up with earwax on your pillow or crusty bits on your earlobe, those are signs of an ear infection or chronic ear disease, says Dr. Tweel. Here's why you might be <a href='https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/what-causes-night-sweats/1'>sweating so much at night</a>.

If your ear feels wetter after a workout, that’s probably just sweat, but if you wake up with earwax on your pillow or crusty bits on your earlobe, those are signs of an ear infection or chronic ear disease, says Dr. Tweel.

You can feel your earwax

'If you have a persistent feeling of earwax in your canal, that could mean it’s blocked and needs to be cleaned out by your doctor,' Dr. Tweel says. Contrary to popular belief, cotton swabs don’t actually clean your ears; instead, they push earwax further into the canal, which can lead to buildup, irritation, and even damage to hearing bones. Don't use them to remove earwax!

‘If you have a persistent feeling of earwax in your canal, that could mean it’s blocked and needs to be cleaned out by your doctor,’ Dr. Tweel says. Contrary to popular belief, cotton swabs don’t actually clean your ears; instead, they push earwax further into the canal, which can lead to buildup, irritation, and even damage to hearing bones. Don’t use them to remove earwax!

Your earwax is itchy

We all get the urge to scratch every now and again, but if you’re constantly digging in your ears to relieve an itch, it might be a sign that something’s wrong. 'Itching in or around the ear canal could suggest an infection,' says Dr. Tweel.

We all get the urge to scratch every now and again, but if you’re constantly digging in your ears to relieve an itch, it might be a sign that something’s wrong. ‘Itching in or around the ear canal could suggest an infection,’ says Dr. Tweel.

Your earwax is dry or dark

If you notice your earwax feels thicker, drier, or darker than normal, that could be a sign of general aging. 'As people get older, their earwax gets drier and flakier,' Dr. Tweel says.

If you notice your earwax feels thicker, drier, or darker than normal, that could be a sign of general aging. ‘As people get older, their earwax gets drier and flakier,’ Dr. Tweel says.

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Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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Health & Lifestyle

Sports head injuries Balanced reportage is required – Experts

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A group of more than 60 leading international neuroscientists, including Mark Herceg, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Northwell Health’s Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and a member of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, published a correspondence today in The Lancet Neurology, asking for balance when reporting on sports-related injury chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a type of dementia associated with exposure to repeated concussions, and has been linked with a variety of contact sports such as boxing, football, American football and rugby.



Although CTE is commonly featured in the news media and discussed among peers, the medical community is just beginning to understand how to recognize the disease, guidelines for how to assess its severity have yet to be established.

“We don’t currently have a clear understanding of the link between CTE pathology and any specific symptoms,” noted Dr. Herceg. “It’s important to note to the public at large that CTE is at an early stage of scientific and medical understanding, with many important aspects of the disease yet to be established.”

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“Dr. Herceg and his colleague’s CTE research is timely and impactful as a major step forward to more clearly defining the risk and prevalence of this important syndrome,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

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-Northwell Health

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