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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Sore throat on one side but no fever. Ear aches. Help!

Resolved Question:

I recently developed a sore throat left side only.When in the past, I developed a sore throat, it usually lasts a day or so and develops into cold symptoms. This time the sore throat and ear ache have been lingering for a week with no other symptoms. Is this an allergy thing?Should I be concerned? I do not smoke and eat healthy, but do suffer from allergy symptoms from time to time.

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 6 years ago.

Do you have any drainage down the back of your throat? Are you clearing your throat frequently? Any swollen glands? Fever?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

No fever and no significant drainage. A runny nose and sneezing now and then. When I press on the ear canal, I do not feel the soreness in throat.

Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 6 years ago.

Ok, thank you for clarifying,
It is not unusual for a throat problem (ie. throat infection) to cause referred pain to the ear. Referred pain means you feel the pain in the ear when the problem is actually in the throat.
That being said, it is also possible that you have an ear infection. The only way to know for certain is to have your ear examined. If you feel ear fullness or pressure, decreased hearing, increased ringing or dizziness, these suggest a problem with the ear.
A middle ear infection (which is an infection behind the eardrum) will not cause pain when pressing on the ear canal. Only infections of the ear canal will cause pain when pressing on the canal itself.
As for the sore throat, in adults, if there is no pus on the tonsils, no fever and no swollen glands, this is more likely to be viral in origin and not a bacterial infection (if it is due to an infectious process).
Postnasal drainage, dryness, acid reflux are other reasons for sore throat.
Allergies can cause a sore throat usually through drainage.
Warm salt water gargles, tylenol and the over the counter lozenges, etc are the mainstay of treatment for viral sore throats.
I do feel that you should have the ear and throat examined given the fact that it has been going on for a week.
If the symptoms are mild, it can likely wait until the weekend is over. However, if the pain is moderate to severe or if you develop a fever, hearing loss, dizziness-- I would go to an urgent care.
I hope that you feel better soon.

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