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Infections of the external auditory canal, whether of mycotic or pyogenic origin, are notoriously prone to become chronic and rebellious to therapeutic measures. The use of lamb's wool in excluding water from the auditory canal is prevalent to some extent among swimmers and lifeguards.
During the war I served as dermatologist to a Marine Division in Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Guam and China. External otitis was widespread among the personnel in the tropics, and it was virtually impossible to persuade men to avoid swimming. In an attempt to keep the auditory canals reasonably dry, the patients were given a small supply of lamb's wool and instructed to roll up a tight little ball of the wool (about the size of a small marble) and gently force it into the auditory canal, being careful to avoid pushing it beyond the reach of the fingers. This plugging of the ears was advised at all
SHELTON JM. LAMB'S WOOL AS AN AID IN PREVENTING INFECTIONS OF THE EXTERNAL AUDITORY CANAL. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1948;57(3_PART_I):401. doi:10.1001/archderm.1948.01520150123019
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