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Have sore throat, swollen papillae at the back of tongue. Not cured by antibiotics. Treatment?

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I have a sore throat, swollen papillae at the back of my tongue and no other symptoms. Been on antibiotics for 3 days and my sore throat is not getting any better. What could it be?
Posted Sat, 19 Jan 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 20 minutes later

Thanks for the query

After going through your description I do feel you are suffering from early stages of acute pharyngitis.

Acute pharyngitis is the sudden onset of inflammation of the throat, characterized by throat pain, enlargement of the lymph node in the neck, associated with or without fever, etc.

The enlarged papillae are the hypertrophied lymphoid follicles secondary to pharyngitis. These lymphoid papillae will normally be smaller in size. During inflammation or infection in the surrounding region the lymphoid papillae gets hypertrophied in order to combat infection. Do not worry! The hypertrophied lymphoid tissues are harmless. With appropriate intervention this can be take care of.

You can try the following:
1. Drink plenty of warm water – this helps in improving the blood circulation, keeping the mucosa moist and relief from pain
2. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as diclofenac or ibuprofen for the pain relief.
3. Do gargles with povidone iodine solution for the speedy recovery.
4. Also, avoid smoking/chilled food & beverages/alcohol/coffee till you recover.
5. If the symptoms does not improve within 3-4 days you can start on antibiotic such as a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid or cefuroxime

Hope I have answered your queries; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have sore throat, swollen papillae at the back of tongue. Not cured by antibiotics. Treatment? 5 hours later
Thank you and can my tonsils swell with pharyngitis. Looked in the mirror and my throat and tonsils are red. How long before antibiotics start to work I've been on them for 3 days already
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 4 hours later

Thanks for writing back

Yes, tonsils can get congested and hypertrophied following pharyngitis. It depends on the type of antibiotics you are taking and the other supportive measures you have taken.

If you can let us know the type of antibiotics you are on, it is easy to say whether the antibiotic is effective for this condition or not. In my previous response I have mentioned about the ideal antibiotics for this conditions. With ideal antibiotics, the symptoms will reduce within 3-4 days.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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