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July 28, 1978

Throat Swabbing in Epiglottitis

Author Affiliations

University of Miami School of Medicine Miami

JAMA. 1978;240(4):346. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290040024009

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To the Editor.—  I appreciated the concise presentation on handling a common problem, "A Management Strategy for Sore Throat" by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD (239:1429, 1978).It is important to note, however, that swabbing the epiglottis is contraindicated in a child with epiglottitis (especially if the agent is Haemophilus influenzae) because of reflex laryngospasm and death by suffocation. The patient should be carefully observed and treated, for death may result from suffocation even without the precipitating manipulations of the swab.