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Boy rushed to doctor for ‘brain-eating worm’ that turned out to be pretty embarassing

Published Feb 25th, 2021 12:15AM EST
brain parasite
Image: paul/Adobe

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  • Children tend to do some pretty bizarre things when nobody is watching them, and that includes sticking things in their ears and nostrils.
  • A mom in the UK was concerned after finding what she thought was a parasite in her child’s ear.
  • Closer inspection revealed the “brain-eating worm” to be nothing more than a piece of a common office supply.

Kids might say the darndest things but they also have a habit of sticking the darndest things in their mouth, nostrils, and ears. It’s a strange quirk of human children, but it’s the reason that so many toys have age ranges that they are suitable for — nobody wants a toddler swallowing Legos now do they? — but sometimes parents just can’t keep an eye on their kids for every single second of the day, and that’s exactly when they tend to do the weirdest stuff.

When a mom in the UK found what she thought was a parasitic worm burrowing in her 10-year-old son’s ear, she freaked out. That’s understandable, as parasites can be nasty and parents tend to be very concerned over the health of their children. However, once the boy was able to be looked at by a doctor it quickly became clear that the parasite wasn’t a parasite at all.

In a Facebook post, Gemma Tyson explains that her son Ashton had been complaining of “an itchy ear,” so she grabbed a flashlight and saw what she thought “was a big ball of wax.” When she got her tweezers and snatched the offending obstruction she realized it wasn’t wax, but a long, thin, worm-like strand of… something. It was dirty and not moving, but the boy’s mom immediately feared the worst.

After a quick call to the doctor, an appointment was made and the boy, his mom, and the “worm” all arrived for the exam. The doctor asked for the object to be examined under a microscope and while they were waiting for the results her son mentioned something that would have cleared the entire thing up much earlier.

“A few hours pass and my son says, ‘I wonder if it’s the tape I put in my ear the other week as I couldn’t get that out,'” Tyson wrote. “Yeap, he had put a rolled up piece of masking tape in his ear and didn’t think to tell me. I was relieved it wasn’t a worm but so embarrassing that I wasted the doctor’s time.”

So, the story has a happy ending, and the worm wasn’t really a worm but just a piece of tape. You have to sympathize with the mom a bit here, as she couldn’t have known what the nasty strand of tape actually was, and the boy’s timing when revealing his secret was just about the worst it could have been. Oh well, at least he didn’t have a brain worm.