Here is a definitive guide to draining your cauliflower ear at home by yourself in 6 simple steps. It’s actually really easy, a bit painful initially but if you’ve done BJJ enough, it’s a cake walk. Please note that this is not recommended and professional medical treatment is advised. But if you must drain it because you can’t get to a doctor within 24-48 hours or are not willing to pay for the treatment, here’s how you can treat it at home. First, you will need the following:
– 18 gauge needle with a syringe (i.e. BD 3ml Syringe with Luer-Lok Tip with BD PercisionGlide needle)
– Sterile gauze pads
– Rubbing alcohol (or some type of disinfectant)
– Sterile cotton balls or Q-tips
– A binder clip (small or medium in size)
– Disposable gloves (optional)
You can obtain all of these things at a Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart (if the Walmart has a pharmacy). The needle and syringe assembly is probably the most difficult one to buy since for most pharmacies, they will require you have a prescription or be diabetic to buy them. I’ve gotten by once by just describing my situation to the pharmacist. She understood and allowed me to buy them. They are actually very inexpensive, even bought one by one, at $0.35 each. If you can’t get them from the mentioned places, there’s always good ole Amazon. Once you’ve got all this stuff, let’s go through the treatment process step by step.
- The first step is to clean your hands (if you don’t have disposable gloves but you should probably still wash your hands). Scrub thoroughly with soup and water and let the suds remove all of the germs, dirt, and whatever else was on your fingers. It’s very important to remain clean throughout this process because you don’t want to introduce bacteria into your ear. It may be a good idea to take a shower beforehand as well if you’ve just trained. Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean after you’ve washed your hands.
- The next step is to disinfect the area in which you will be puncturing with the needle. Generously, soak the cotton balls or the Q-tips with rubbing alcohol and dab/rub/swab your ear. Repeat a few times to ensure the entire area is disinfected. Get in all the crevices too.
- Unsheathe the needle. Make sure you are holding it firmly at the syringe. Get to a mirror so that you can see exactly where you are puncturing your ear. Find an area that is soft and filled with fluid and blood. Go ahead and pierce the skin of the ear. Push into the ear until the entire hole of the needle is inside of the swollen area. There is no need to go any further into the ear after the hole is completely inside.
- With one hand, keep the syringe steady and in a fixed position. With the other, slowly pull the plunger until all the liquid inside the ear has transferred to the syringe. Slowly remove the needle out of the ear.
- The puncture wound may “weep” for a bit. Small amounts of blood may trickle out. You can apply pressure with the gauze or cotton balls for a few minutes until the bleeding has subsided. You can disinfect the area again if you are worried about infection.
- One of the most important parts now is to keep the area that the fluid was filled in compressed or have continuous pressure applied to it for at least the next several days. This is where the binder clip comes in. If you skip this step, your ear will likely refill with fluid and you will end up having to drain it one more time. Depending on the size of the area that the fluid filled, you may need different sized binder clips. This is not a perfect solution but it has worked for me. Open up the binder clip and bend it so that it’s not super tight. You want to bend it so that the separation between the clips is about the thickness of your ear. Once, you’ve done that wrap a gauze pad around your ear so that you aren’t clipping directly onto your ear. The pad is there to provide some comfort and to soak up whatever fluid is left that may trickle out. You should keep this clip on for the next several days. You can intermittently adjust it if it is hurting or uncomfortable and you can take it off for a bit (15 minutes) and then reapply. You can gradually reduce the time it’s been clipped as the days go by. Just make sure the ear is not refilling.
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