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Five Common Earache and Ear Infection Questions

Ear infections are common, in fact five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. If you’re experiencing an earache or ear infection, or have a child with one, you probably have some questions!

 

Are ear infections contagious?
Thankfully, no. However, ear infections can be the result of a previous infection which is contagious, such as a cold or flu.

 

What is the difference between the two classifications of ear infections?

There are two classifications of ear infections: acute and chronic. An ear infection is generally considered acute when it occurs with a sudden onset and resolves within a timely manner (usually three weeks). When a person experiences recurrent ear infections, or an infection that does not go away, it is considered chronic.

 

If I have an earache does that mean I have an ear infection?

No. An earache does not necessarily mean that you have an ear infection. Sometimes, you may experience ear discomfort or pressure due to a cold or sinus infection.

 

When should I see a doctor for an earache?
If you experience hearing loss, ringing in the ears and/ or dizziness, persistent symptoms of an ear infection, or are concerned, seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
Are Antibiotics always necessary for treating ear infections?

No. Some ear infections are viral—and taking antibiotics for a viral condition would offer no help in treating the infection.

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