Incidental lowering of otitis-media complaints in otitis-prone children during COVID-19 pandemic: not all evil comes to hurt

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Given COVID-19 pandemic periodic outpatient assessment of otitis-prone children regularly followed at our tertiary outpatient clinic of upper respiratory tract infections was discontinued since 9 March. In order to avoid leaving the patients to themselves just during the winter months, which are the most critical ones for these children, we kept in touch with the families of 102 children (mean age 41.4 ± 14.0 months) who had had a follow-up visit scheduled during the lockdown, and compensated with telemedicine assessment. This incidentally leads to the unexpected but not at all negative finding that a consistent clinical improvement had been occurred in most (82.3%) of children. A statistically significant reduction in the mean number of documented acute otitis media episodes, otorrhea episodes, and systemic antibiotic treatments during the February–April 2020 period compared with February–April 2019 was attested. Clinical evaluation performed in 27.4% cases revealed normal middle ear findings in all but three (89.3%) children. Conclusion: Our data document a global improvement of otitis-prone children in Milan during the Italian lockdown, as a fortuitous and incidental positive effect of the national lockdown.What is Know:• During COVID-19 pandemic in Italy any non-urgent medical activity including periodic outpatient assessment of otitis-prone children was discontinued.• Otitis-prone children experience acute infectious exacerbations mainly in winter.What is New:• Most of children reached by means of a telemedicine assessment during lockdown experienced a subjective clinical improvement; clinical assessment at the end of the lockdown revealed normal otoscopic findings in most cases.• Exceptional circumstances during COVID-19 pandemic had a fortuitous positive effect on otitis-prone children’s clinical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-652
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Children
  • COVID-19
  • Infection
  • Otitis media
  • Otitis-prone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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