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May 7, 1973

Cough and Otitis Media

JAMA. 1973;224(6):902. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220200058025

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To the Editor.—  The paper by Wolff and May (223:1269, 1973) is a welcomed reminder that cough can be caused by a stimulus in the ear canal or ear drum. Pediatricians often observe cough related to acute otitis media, and it is a serious mistake not to examine the ears of children with respiratory illness.On several occasions I have seen an infant with severe wheezing and dyspnea who would improve immediately and dramatically when his suppurative otitis media was drained. Such cases may be confused with asthma, bronchiolitis, or other obstructive bronchial disorders. The mechanism must be the same vagal reflex cited by Wolff and May.