FAQ about Ear Infections

Ear infections plague millions of Americans, with young children being particularly prone to these uncomfortable conditions. Here at Ear Nose Throat St. Peters Sinuplasty in St. Peters, MO, Dr. Paul Burk and his professional colleagues diagnose and treat infections of the outer, middle, and inner ear for better health, balance and hearing. Read on to learn more!

What parts of the ear are affected by infection?

The outer, middle, and internal ear structures may become infected by bacteria or viruses. Middle ear infections, also called otitis media, often develop in young children after they have had a cold or the flu. On the other hand, when an outer ear canal becomes infected, it turns red, painful and crusty, often as a result of collecting and holding onto water, a condition called "swimmer's ear."

Do kids get ear infections more often than teens and adults?

Yes, they do. Experts believe that youngsters are more prone to infection than adults because of a more horizontal orientation of the Eustachian Tube between the ear and the throat. MedicineNet reports that five out of every six American children will suffer from the fever, earache, bulging eardrum, and other symptoms associated with otitis media.

Are antibiotics always needed to cure an ear infection?

No, they are not. In fact, most ear infections clear up by themselves as evidenced by symptom resolution within a few days. However, if symptoms persist, you may call your primary care physician or Dr. Burk in St. Peters, MO, for a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.

Can the ear retain fluid after an ear infection?

Yes, it can. Dr. Burk can see it when he examines the ear drum with a lighted otoscope. Typically, this fluid resolves over time, but if retained, it may cause repeat ear infections, particularly in children.

Can you catch an ear infection?

No, they are not contagious. However, some things lay the groundwork for this problem, including:

  • Colds
  • The flu (so keep current with flu shots)
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke

Find out more

Here at Ear Nose Throat St. Peters Sinuplasty, Dr. Paul Burke is an on-staff otolaryngologist with decades of experience. If you are concerned about the severity or re-occurrence of ear infections in yourself or a family member, please call for an appointment. We have three locations: St. Peters, St. Louis, and Bridgeton, MO. Phone (314) 821-5002 to schedule an appointment.

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