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The Doctor Is In: Meet Neal Burkhalter, MD

Dr. Neal Burkhalter is a physician with Lexington ENT & Allergy, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. He joined our hospital network recently. We sat down with him to get to know him and ask him some clinical questions related to his specialty.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a doctor?
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a doctor – probably by age 12 or 13 – and that persisted throughout my education. I also had great educators who encouraged me and gave me confidence to pursue medicine.

Dr. Neal Burkhalter of Lexington ENT & Allergy

Dr. Neal Burkhalter of Lexington ENT & Allergy

Why did you want to be a doctor?

I had an early love for science and I love people. It seemed like a natural fit. I’m very extroverted, and I also love the challenge of thinking through problems and “fixing” things.

Why did you choose ENT as your specialty?
I knew pretty quickly in my medical education that I wanted to do something surgical, but I also struggled with the fact that I wanted longer-term relationships. That usually doesn’t happen with a surgical specialty. ENT provided a good mix of those two things. I love the complex surgical aspects of head and neck surgery, and the relationships I have from treating patients medically over time.

What are your favorite parts of the job?
I love the diversity of ENT. We serve a wide variety of patients – from premature infants to the very elderly. Some are relatively easy problems like runny noses and some are very complex, such as advanced head and neck cancer.

What are some common problems that you see in your practice?
I commonly see kids and adults with recurrent ear infections, chronic sinus infections, tonsil problems, allergies and hoarseness.

What do you want patients to know about how to treat those problems?
Ear infections and sinus infections are common and can be difficult to treat. They both can be treated with medicines, but sometimes surgery is necessary.

Tonsil problems can range from ongoing tonsil infections to large tonsils that can cause sleep apnea and have a wide range of health and life effects.

Allergies are very complex and often require multiple visits to try to find the right combination of medications and allergy testing to help know to what things you are allergic.

There are multiple reasons for hoarseness, but anyone who has been hoarse for six weeks or more should have their voice box examined by an ENT, especially if they have a history of smoking.

Dr. Burkhalter is accepting new patients. For more information, visit the practice’s website.

Neal Burkhalter, MD, Joins LMC at Lexington ENT & Allergy

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to welcome Neal W. Burkhalter, MD, to the hospital’s network of care. Dr. Burkhalter will practice at Lexington ENT & Allergy, a hospital physician practice.

A graduate of Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Ga., Dr. Burkhalter was appointed chief resident at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after four years of residency, with several awards for teaching and research excellence. He attained a Master of Education in clinical exercise physiology and a Bachelor of Science in cellular biology, both from the University of Georgia in Athens, before entering medical school.

BurkhalterNealDr. Burkhalter’s interests include research and solutions specific to head and neck cancer surgery, allergic skin reactions and allergy emergencies. He is board certified in otolaryngology.

Dr. Burkhalter joins board-certified otolaryngologists Andrew P. Battiata, MD, Edward A. Woody, MD, and Melanie W. Seybt, MD, at Lexington ENT & Allergy, which specializes in treating both surgical and nonsurgical disorders of the head and neck for patients of all ages.

Dr. Burkhalter is now accepting patients.
Lexington-ENT.com

146 North Hospital Drive, Suite 120
West Columbia, SC
(803) 936-7530

Using Antibiotics Appropriately

With guest blogger Dr. Brandon Emery of Lexington Pediatric Practice, an LMC physician practice

Antibiotics are a great remedy for a number of childhood infections and illnesses. They’re one of the great advances in medicine, but it’s important to use them wisely. Taking antibiotics too frequently when they’re not absolutely necessary may decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics for your child in the long term.

Dr. Brandon Emery

Dr. Brandon Emery

Some illnesses always need antibiotics. Strep throat is one of them. However, sinus infections may be a different story. Some inus infections may resolve on their own without antibiotics.

One of the most common childhood illnesses is an ear infection. If a child with an ear infection is an infant, we usually treat them with antibiotics. For an older child, you may decide to simply treat the pain and allow the immune system a chance to resolve the infection on its own. Your doctor can help you make the right choice based on your child’s symptoms.

Importantly, antibiotics will only help a bacterial infection, not a virus. A virus will have to run its course until your child is better. In the meantime, talk to your doctor about ways to treat the symptoms and make your child more comfortable while they’re sick.

It’s important to note that any child with the following symptoms should see a health care provider:
~A fever that lasts longer than five days
~A fever of more than 103 degrees that lasts 2 to 3 days
~Cold symptoms that last for more than ten days or with severe onset

immunizationHere’s the bottom line: Parents should take their child to the doctor for an evaluation and a diagnosis, but not thinking that they definitely need an antibiotic. Some infections do not require it. The overuse of antibiotics increases the risk of bacteria becoming resistant to them. And because there are not a lot of new antibiotics being produced, that can impact your child’s ability to fight a more serious infection in the future.

Parents should always feel free to discuss the role of antibiotics and their use with their pediatrician.

For more information about Dr. Emery and Lexington Pediatric Practice, visit LexPediatricPractice.com or call them at (803) 359-8855. The practice is located at 811 W. Main Street, Suite 204, in Lexington. Dr. Emery is accepting new patients.