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What causes painful throat and extremely swollen uvula?

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Posted on Mon, 23 Mar 2015
Question: Hello, I woke up this morning with an extremely painful throat. I could not swallow and it felt like something was stuck in my throat. I looked in the mirror and my uvula was extremely swollen to the point that it essentially rested on my tongue. In order to take a picture of it to send my husband back in the United States, I had to use my little finger to hold my tongue down and even then I still could not see the entire uvula. It was extremely swollen and red and there is a little bit of white on it but not pustule or pus sack white.

A few hours have passed by as I've debated going to urgent care. I decided to take another look and while there is still some swelling and redness, it has gone down significantly. It no longer "rests" on my tongue. There is still pain, however, certainly not as much (it is hard to tell or gauge my pain due to the fact that I took to 100 mg tramadol that I am prescribed by my doctor for pain). But swallowing is a little easier. And a little bit of white remains on the uvula. My tonsils or glands, I'm not sure exactly what those are on either side of the uvula, are clearly swollen as well.

I'm living in Germany and I'm entirely alone without any family or friends and I'm not sure what to do. Do you think this is something I can take care of at home simply by gargling salt and water? Or would you recommend I'd be seen by a doctor? What antibiotics be beneficial here? Anything you can offer for advice is very much appreciated. Thank you

UPDATE-Next day:

I woke up this morning and I feel awful. I do have severe congestion, constantly blow my nose, my voice has physically changed, and my throat still hurts.

I am updatinf photos from this morning. It is nowhere near as swollen as it was yesterday morning but, nonetheless, it is still swollen and painful. Urgent care does not open until 5 PM here, it is currently 1 PM. Do you advise I go in as soon as they open? What do you think this could be?

Thank you!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (46 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
may be viral sore throat

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

I am sorry that you feel so unwell.

Nasal congestion, sore throat with or without voice changes, general fatigue and malaise are normally related to viral infections.
Over 80% of sore throats are normally viral rather than bacterial.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine by symptoms alone if an acute sore throat is viral or bacterial but in general if there is severe fever not resolving , pain , then bacterial infection is more likely.
Viral sore throat is treated with pain medication and gargling/lozenges, bacterial infection would need antibiotics.

If your throat pain is still very severe then you can go to urgent care as soon as they open, they would do a swab to determine if it is viral or bacterial. Based on the images, looks more viral but a swab can confirm this.

If viral then: (1) continue gargling with salt water
(2)add over the counter meds such as chloroseptic, diflam or covonia throat treatment
(3)oral anti inflammatory pain meds such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin

(4)cough and cold medications available over the counter would help with nasal congestion .
Decongestants may be oral or topical (normal saline drops or otrivine)


Summary: (1) if no sustained fever and based on images ,more likely viral but you can still visit urgent care to confirm
(2) viral infection treated with pain meds and gargling or sprays
(3)if bacterial , antibiotics needed
(4)over the counter cough and cold medications would help with the other symptoms
(5)also need to drink fluids and rest if possible

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (2 hours later)
Thank you for your helpful reply! From everything you have written, it would sound as though it is viral to me as well. The congestion is getting worse, do you have any recommendations on what I can take or do? And for my sore throat? Those are probably the two biggest things as of right now in addition to fatigue
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (17 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
different options available

Detailed Answer:
HI

Nasal congestion: (1) topical normal saline drops or otrivine drops

(2) oral decongestants are pseudoephedrine or phenyephrine. Normally these would be found in most cough and cold meds
Usually combined with an oral antihistamine

Sore throat: (1) oral pain killers such as ibuprofen/ aspirin/ naproxen / cataflam
(2) topical sprays or lozenges or gargles- chloroseptic, diflam , covonia


Eg of over the counter meds that may help nasal and other symptoms eg advil cold/flu, panadol cough and cold , benadryl cold med etc

Please feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (38 minutes later)
Do you think i should still be seen? I think but you're probably right but I don't want to waste unnecessary time, who I don't want to have something important ...
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (21 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
can try home treatment first

Detailed Answer:
HI

You can try home treatment with over the counter meds first to see if it helps first.

Can do this for at least 1 to 3 days unless symptoms are severe or worsening.

At present there are no meds that cause hasten resolution of the symptoms just decrease them.
In general symptoms (cough, nasal symptoms) can last up to 10 days , the sore throat- normally 3 to 4 days.

If anything else unclear, you can let me know
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (14 minutes later)
Thank you for your quick reply! I actually do have another question. As I mentioned, I currently live in Germany and medication I typically take for things such as the carpal tinnel syndrome surgery I had while I was here and other severe pains, has been Tramol/Tramadol.
I am allergic to all anti-inflammatories that includes: naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. do you think it is worth going in to at least get something for the pain? Or do you think that is a little too much? Thank you!!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (7 hours later)
Brief Answer:
can try paracetamol first

Detailed Answer:
HI

Sorry about the late reply

You can try paracetamol first to see if this helps (on an empty stomach). If there is no relief with the sore throat with this and the topical agents ,then you can use the tramadol.

The other option would be codeine.

You can feel free to ask any other queries


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (10 hours later)
Good morning!
Today is day 2.5 with this virus…

It's still red but only minor swelling. At this point I mainly have a lot of congestion.

Question: am I contagious?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (52 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
yes, it is contagious

Detailed Answer:
HI

Yes, the cough/cold is contagious via coughing and sneezing and contact with any nasal secretions.

Blocking the nose and mouth during a cough or sneeze and hand washing or disinfectant wiping would reduce any transmission

If you need help with anything else, you can let me know
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (4 minutes later)
Hello thank you so much for the quick reply! Would you say that I should avoid the elderly and others with a weakened immune system for now? Thank you so much for your continued help!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (38 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
if unable to institute precautions

Detailed Answer:
HI

If you can use the precautions mentioned above then you can avoid spread to anyone but if any circumstances may make this difficult to do then , yes, avoidance would be best.

feel free to ask any additional questions if needed
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (22 hours later)
Hello!

Im feeling extremely rundown and I'm sweating profusely even though it's really cold outside. I think I'm going to go pick up a thermometer right now. What is considered a fever for an adult? Thank you for your continued help & if you have any more advice on how to feel vetter faster, especially before my friday flight home to the USA from Germany, please let me know! Danke
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
97.8 to 99 F, 36.5 to 37.2 c

Detailed Answer:
HI

The normal temperature range can vary slightly depending on whether the temperature is measured in the ear, in the axilla, in the mouth or rectally.

In general the normal range would be 97.8 f (36.5c) to 99 f (37.2c)

Glad to help you and hope you start to feel better soon

Feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (5 hours later)
Hello! My body temp rarely deviates drom 97.6. Does that mean a lower "normal" temp could mean a fever for me? What range should I look for in a fever for me?

Thank you!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (13 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
only slight deviation so it is ok

Detailed Answer:
HI

Though the normal range is 97.8 to 99, a value of 97.6 would not be concerning because it is only slightly below the normal and would not indicate any significant problem

You can use the range of 97.6 to 99 for yourself.

You can let me know if anything else is unclear


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

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Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16810 Questions

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What causes painful throat and extremely swollen uvula?

Brief Answer: may be viral sore throat Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic I am sorry that you feel so unwell. Nasal congestion, sore throat with or without voice changes, general fatigue and malaise are normally related to viral infections. Over 80% of sore throats are normally viral rather than bacterial. It can sometimes be difficult to determine by symptoms alone if an acute sore throat is viral or bacterial but in general if there is severe fever not resolving , pain , then bacterial infection is more likely. Viral sore throat is treated with pain medication and gargling/lozenges, bacterial infection would need antibiotics. If your throat pain is still very severe then you can go to urgent care as soon as they open, they would do a swab to determine if it is viral or bacterial. Based on the images, looks more viral but a swab can confirm this. If viral then: (1) continue gargling with salt water (2)add over the counter meds such as chloroseptic, diflam or covonia throat treatment (3)oral anti inflammatory pain meds such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin (4)cough and cold medications available over the counter would help with nasal congestion . Decongestants may be oral or topical (normal saline drops or otrivine) Summary: (1) if no sustained fever and based on images ,more likely viral but you can still visit urgent care to confirm (2) viral infection treated with pain meds and gargling or sprays (3)if bacterial , antibiotics needed (4)over the counter cough and cold medications would help with the other symptoms (5)also need to drink fluids and rest if possible I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions