ZocdocAnswersI have a sore throat and pain to the touch on one side. What could be wrong?

Question

I have a sore throat and pain to the touch on one side. What could be wrong?

I have a sore throat, on the right side it is very tender to the touch and hurts when I swallow. My ear is itchy on the inside on the right side as well. I have yucky sticky mucus as well which makes me think I am getting sick but why is only one side of my neck sooo tender and feels swollen? I am freaking myself out and am unable to go see a doctor right now.

Answer

Sorry to hear that you have a sore throat, right sided neck tenderness, and an itchy ear, and that you are worried you are getting sick. It will be impossible to tell you with certainty exactly what is going on without being able to examine you and ask more questions (i.e. take a thorough history) so it is important that you see an ENT doctor. Unfortunately from the information that you have given me thus far, it certainly sounds as though you may be getting sick. Often times when there are so many different symptoms that come on at the same time, such as sore throat, odynophagia (pain with swallowing), ear symptoms, and congestion (you said you have thick mucous), it is from a viral illness. It is possible that you are developing a tonsillitis, or just pharyngitis, and one side is more affected than the other. Hence the unilateral symptoms. Also it is not uncommon that when someone has a sore throat, they also experience ear symptoms due to referred pain (meaning that there is not actually anything going on in the ear, but the nerves supplying sensation to the throat also supply sensation to the ear, so pain in one area can be felt in the other). Throat pain can be caused by many other processes as well (which can be much more serious), so it is always a good idea to get checked out if your symptoms persist (for more than a couple weeks). I would recommend an ENT. Best of luck.

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