If a sore throat and earache occur simultaneously, the infection usually has begun in the throat and spread to the ear due to the anatomical connection. Sore throats typically last three days and get better with over the counter medication. Earaches often affect the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear and need immediate treatment when infected. There are therefore several causes, signs, symptoms and treatment of these illnesses:
Signs of sore throat
A person with sore throat will have symptoms and signs which include swollen glands in the neck area and hoarseness of the voice. A patient may also develop white parches on the tonsils as well as experience throat dryness and irritation.
Causes of sore throat
Sore throat may be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, acidity, or tumors among other things.
- Viruses: Sore throats often go in hand with viral infections like flu, chicken pox, measles, and croup, which affects the voice box.
- Bacteria: Bacterial sore throat is caused by a strain of streptococcus. Resultant infections like tonsillitis, diphtheria, whooping cough, sinusitis and scarlet fever can damage internal organs like the heart valves or kidneys resulting in sore throat.
- Allergies: Allergens like pollen can trigger a sore throat.
- Tumors: Sore throats accompanied by hoarseness, noisy breathing or blood in sputum are often caused by tumour in the throat or voice box.
- Acidity: Reflux of stomach acids into the throat can cause a sore throat.
Treatment of sore throat
If bacteria caused your sore throat, the doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics depending on the severity of the infection. The medication must be taken as prescribed. You can also gargle with warm salt water or suck throat lozenges to relief throat irritation.
Sore throats caused by a virus often go away with some home remedies and drinking plenty of warm fluids with natural honey and not sugar can also assist.
How to prevent sore throat?
Certain groups of people are at greater risk of procuring sore throats including: children, smokers, people with allergies or immune compromising illnesses like HIV/AIDS. To prevent sore throats, people need to;
- Avoid yelling or exerting your voice for long periods
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Avoid any triggering allergens or chemical irritants.
If suffering from other illnesses like Cancer, HIV or diabetes, take medicines to boost your immune system. Practice good personal hygiene by not sharing personal effects.
Common causes and treatment methods of ear pain
In case your earache is accompanied by difficulty swallowing or a sore throat, it is possible your earache is the symptom of throat infections like tonsillitis, which are treated with antibiotics.
Earaches unrelated to sore throat are often due to infections. Secretion of a watery or pus like fluid from the ear is a sign of infection. Sometimes ear infections may clear up without treatment after a few days or weeks, however in cases of extreme secretions or severe pain, a doctor prescribes antibiotics or eardrops.
Build up of earwax
Pharmacists prescribe eardrops to soften any gardened wax that has built up in the inner ear, so it falls out naturally. In special cases, the wax may be removed by flushing the ear with water, something called ear irritation.
Object lodged in the ear
Do not attempt to extract anything stuck as it may only push it further into the ear. Avoid putting pressure on the blocked ear or pouring any oil into it.
Damage to jaw or dental health
Physical blows of great force to the jaw may affect the ear. A swollen jaw may cause pus build up in the gums called by dental abscesses. It causes extreme throbbing pain that at times reaches the ear.
Symptoms of ear infection
Ear pain from a sore throat can be sharp, dull or a burning pain that ranges in intensity from mild to painful. An earache caused by a cold causes fever, difficulty sleeping or heavy phlegm. In case of fluid inside the ear, pressure on the eardrum causes throbbing pain due to fluid pressure bulging the eardrum.
The patient may also suffer irritability, vertigo, loss of appetite, difficulty hearing, and the secretion of white, yellow, brown or bloody fluid from the ear.
What you can do at home
Drink a lot of non-alcoholic beverages. You may also need to use over the counter painkillers like paracetamol to manage the pain. Wring a soft flannel cloth in warm water and hold against the aching ear. Avoid getting the affected ear wet in case it is infected.
When to call the doctor
Although some cases of throat pain and earache dissipate by themselves, visit the doctor in case of the following accompanying symptoms:
- Lump in throat
- Swelling around the ear
- Persistent pain not cured by painkillers
- Blood in phlegm or saliva
Sore throat, ear pain and the flu or colds often occur together due to the link between the eye, nose and throat (E.N.T) system. Often, the earache is as a result of the sore throat, and treating the sore throat cures the earache as well, if not an ear infection.
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