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Nephrologist, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 110
Experience:  Board Eligible Nephrologist
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I have swelling and pain under my left ear along my jawline.

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I have swelling and pain under my left ear along my jawline. My tongue has some swelling on the left side and my throat is sore. I am a 62 year female in relativly good health. Can you tell me what is wrong?

Do you have any rash or beginnings of rash along your left jawline?

Do you have any pain when you touch the swelling?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

No rash.

No sharp pain, just very tender.

Also no headache or toothache, (dentures)

Tell me about the swelling... Is your face very swollen, or just barely so?

Also, how long has it been present?

Any allergies? Any recent sick contacts?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Swelling is limited to the left side and is not puffy swollen.

This has been bothering me for about 3 days. Today the swelling started

after a brief nap. Allergic to Claritan. No recent sick contacts.

From your description, three possibilities emerge:

1. Herpes zoster

This is what we call shingles. Shingles is an eruption of a herpes zoster virus along a particular part of your body. Most often it occurs on the abdomen or back, but it can certainly erupt along the jaw line, with one side of the tongue and one side of throat involved. Shingles start with pain and some swelling and erupts into a rash after few days. If you notice a rash tomorrow or the day after, you'll know its shingles and you can ask your doctor for medication called Valtrex to treat it.

2. Throat infection with node enlargement

Quite worrisome possibility would be some kind of abscess (collection of pus) around the left side of your throat. This would cause you to have very tough time swallowing and should cause fever as well. The abscess could cause your lymphnodes to swell and become painful. If fever or worsening swallowing occurs, you should worry about this.

3. TMJ problem

TMJ is that joint on which the jaw hinges. Sometimes it may become inflamed and the pain and swelling could emanate both inside the mouth and along the joint line.

Tongue ulcers, canker sores and yeast infection could also cause this, but you havent told me of any such findings in your mouth (do check your tounge for any sores or ulcers...and if there is any "cottage cheese" in your mouth, that would be yeast).

Hope all this helps and take care!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I appreciate the input but my main concern is I am 1300 miles from my PCP and not available.

This is why I am looking for answers now.

My biggest fear is an earache.

If this condition worsens, how should I proceed?

Do you have an earache now?

Tug on your ear lobe, does it hurt?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

No external ear canal infection then.

Middle ear infection is possible as well.

How to proceed?

1. If I had you in my office, I would start you on an antibiotic called Augmentin. It would cover most of your problems, from a throat abscess to a possible middle ear infection. Since you are away from a source of prescriptions, I think you should observe your symptoms carefully.

2. If fever comes, or the sore throat becomes much worse, then you wil have no choice but present to a physician somewhere and obtain antibiotics.

3. Watch for the rash of shingles over next three days.

4. One thing you can do now, is take ibuprofen for its antiinflammatory properties and see if the pain and swelling subside substantially. If so, TMJ is the problem.

5. If you feel your tounge swelling is worsening or perhaps you experience throat closing sensation, that's an emergency worthy of a 911 call, as it may represent seriuos throat swelling (possibly due to some allergy) and possible breathing problems.

Good luck!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I thank you for your help.

Although it does not alleviate the problem, it certainly gives me more insight to the possible causes and how to proceed if it worsens. Things like this always seem to manifest on the weekends.

Your time and advice is certainly appreciated and I will now use your web site again if needed and give you referrals. I hope your Holidays are Wonderful.

God Bless

No problem..hope you get better!
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