Q. It is hard to swallow and breathe due to swollen throat. What should be done?

Answered by
Dr. Surabhi Chopra
and medically reviewed by Dr. Nithila A
Published on Sep 28, 2019 and last reviewed on: Oct 04, 2019

Hello doctor,

My throat is extremely swollen, and it is hard to breathe and swallow, I am in a lot of pain because my lymph nodes are swollen and it is making my ears hurts, my neck is swollen. I believe my tonsils are swollen, but it is hard to tell as my neck is so swollen and I cannot open my mouth that wide with it being too painful, and I am getting migraines due to this pain. Should I consult a doctor?

Dr. Surabhi Chopra

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)


Welcome to icliniq.com.

According to the symptoms you have mentioned in the query, you are having a severe acute exacerbation of chronic tonsillitis.

1) Pain in throat, difficulty in breathing and swallowing point towards an acute follicular tonsillitis.

2) Enlarged lymph nodes indicate this is not the first episode, but you might be facing this problem at regular intervals. This means this is a chronic condition.

3) Ear pain is a referred pain in your case. This means there is no local ear pathology or ear problem. The glossopharyngeal nerve (9th nerve) gives out branches to both ear and throat, so sometimes a pathology of the throat can lead to earache.

My advice will be to visit an otolaryngologist in your town and have your throat examined.

1. Start on antibiotics, Amoxycillin plus Clavulanic acid combination tablet (625 mg) or you can try Cefuroxime plus Clavulanic acid (500 mg) to be taken twice daily for five days.

2. Analgesics are important to relieve pain and swelling. Diclofenac or Aceclofenac tablets with Paracetamol twice daily after meals is a good option.

3. An antacid should be taken along with analgesics since Analgesics can lead to gastric irritation.

4. Warm saline gargles with Betadine three to four times a day provide a soothing effect.

If you are suffering from such episodes more than three to four times per year, it is advisable to get your tonsils removed by surgery, ie tonsillectomy done.

If the disease is not responding to the above treatment, I will advise you to get an investigation called throat swab done by your doctor.

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