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What causes red and swollen papillae on the back of the tongue?

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Posted on Sat, 7 May 2016
Question: I might just be paranoid right now, but the papillae on the back of my tongue are extremely red and swollen. I can't tell if my tonsils also have spots and are swollen. But, if there are spots they would be red. It's kind of difficult to look in your own mouth. It's very uncomfortable, and is a little difficult to swallow (I can do it though). It feels as if there is something stuck in the back of my throat that I just cannot get out. Is this something I should be concerned about?!
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Answered by Dr. Kathy Robinson (27 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
virus or bacteria

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thank you for your question,
It looks like from the photos you sent that you either have a viral or bacterial throat infection.
If you have other cold symptoms like cough and runny nose then it is probably viral. In that case it should go away in a week or so and you can use salt water gargles, push fluids and get plenty of rest to take care of it.
If you do not have other cold symptoms then it may be strep throat. In that case you would need to see a doctor to get a strep test and if it is positive you would need antibiotics.
If you have trouble breathing or the pain gets severe go to emergency.
I hope you are feeling better soon. Let me know if you have further questions,
Dr. Robinson
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Kathy Robinson (21 minutes later)
Dr. XXXXXXX -

Thank you for taking the time to answer! As for cold symptoms, I just got over a cold just about a week ago, and still have a dry cough. I probably should have mentioned that in my previous message! Would that change your interpretation? Additionally, I am currently very stressed out between working full-time, completing an internship, and going to school full-time. Do you think that this could be stress-inflicted? Or are you leaning more towards the original answer?

Thank you.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kathy Robinson (21 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
thanks for the follow up

Detailed Answer:
It definitely could be from a combination of the original viral infection and stress. Stress can cause some acid reflux which can irritate the throat also.
If you are having fevers, no cough and have enlarged lymph nodes in the front of your neck you may have strep and need to be tested for that.
If not just take care of yourself and it should heal up on its own in a week or so.
Dr. Robinson
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Kathy Robinson (4 minutes later)
Okay, thank you so much !
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Answered by Dr. Kathy Robinson (11 hours later)
Brief Answer:
you are welcome

Detailed Answer:
and thanks for using HealthcareMagic
Dr. Robinson
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Kathy Robinson

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1989

Answered : 3535 Questions

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What causes red and swollen papillae on the back of the tongue?

Brief Answer: virus or bacteria Detailed Answer: Hello and thank you for your question, It looks like from the photos you sent that you either have a viral or bacterial throat infection. If you have other cold symptoms like cough and runny nose then it is probably viral. In that case it should go away in a week or so and you can use salt water gargles, push fluids and get plenty of rest to take care of it. If you do not have other cold symptoms then it may be strep throat. In that case you would need to see a doctor to get a strep test and if it is positive you would need antibiotics. If you have trouble breathing or the pain gets severe go to emergency. I hope you are feeling better soon. Let me know if you have further questions, Dr. Robinson