At Quail Creek ENT we want you to have the best quality of life possible and that means quality of hearing and otolaryngological health. There is no disorder of the ear, nose OR throat in children or adults that we are not prepared to address. 

Source: By Jennifer Berry

A sore throat is a common reason to see a doctor. Most of the time, it is a symptom of allergies, a cold, or the flu. While a sore throat can be painful, it is usually not serious.

However, when a throat is sore on only one side, it may be a sign of a different illness or condition.

In this article, we look at nine possible causes of a sore throat on one side. We also discuss when to see a doctor.

1. Swollen lymph nodes

Some illnesses and conditions cause soreness on only one side of the throat.

The body's lymph nodes act as filters, helping to identify and trap germs, such as viruses and bacteria before they can infect other areas. As they do this, the lymph nodes may swell up and become sore.

The lymph nodes closest to the throat are on either side of the neck. These nodes can cause a feeling of soreness when they become swollen or inflamed.

Many illnesses and infections lead to swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes only one node in the area is sore, which can cause a sore throat on one side.

Some conditions that may lead to swollen lymph nodes include:

a cold or flustered throat and ear infection infected tooth, or tooth abscess, mononucleosis, sometimes called "mono" infections in the skincancerHIV

2. Postnasal drip

Many common viral illnesses, such as a cold or flu, can cause a sore throat. In these cases, the throat may only be sore on one side.

When the nose is congested, mucus and fluid drain down the back of the throat. This is known as postnasal drip. Continual drainage can irritate the throat, leading to a feeling of soreness or scratchiness.

A specific part of the throat may become more irritated by drainage. It may feel like one side is raw and inflamed.

Antibiotics cannot treat or weaken viral illnesses. If a cold, flu or another viral illness is causing the sore throat, treatment will likely involve rest and fluids.

3. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis describes inflammation of one or more tonsil. The tonsils are located at the back of the throat, and a virus or bacterium usually causes the infection and inflammation.

An infection in just one tonsil can cause pain on one side. It may also cause a fever, trouble swallowing, and noisy breathing.

Bacterial tonsillitis usually resolves with antibiotic treatment.

4. Peritonsillar abscess

A peritonsillar abscess requires immediate medical attention.

An abscess is a contained, pus-filled lump within the tissue. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection.

A peritonsillar abscess forms in the tissues near the tonsils, usually when tonsillitis becomes severe or is left untreated. It may cause intense pain on one side of the throat. It may also cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and trouble swallowing.

A person with a peritonsillar abscess requires urgent medical care. In severe cases, it can interfere with breathing.

The abscess may need to be drained by a doctor. Antibiotics are also used to treat the underlying infection.

5. Injury to the throat

Many things can injure the back of the mouth or throat, including:

burns from hot food or liquid food with sharp edges, such as chips or crackers, endotracheal intubation, which is the insertion of a tube down the throat to help with breathing

If one side of the throat is sore from being scraped or burned, gargling with warm salt water may help to soothe symptoms.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition that causes the stomach's contents, including stomach acid, to back up into the food pipe and throat.

GERD may be worse at night and when lying down. If stomach acid backs up when a person is lying on their side, it may lead to soreness on one side of the throat.

Other symptoms of GERD include:

pain or burning in the middle of the chest, the feeling of a lump or object in the throat, hoarseness, a dry cough, burning in the mouth.

If GERD goes untreated for too long, it can damage the food pipe and throat. The condition is treatable with medications and lifestyle changes.

7. Hand, foot, and mouth disease

As the name implies, this viral illness usually causes sores to form on the hands, feet, and mouth. Sores can develop in the back of the mouth, near the sides of the throat, and one side may be more affected than the other.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease usually occurs in children under 5 years of age, but it can also spread to older children and adults.

The recommended treatment usually comprises rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medication for pain relief. However, the disease can cause dehydration, especially in young children. A person should see a doctor if they are unable to drink.

8. Vocal cord lesions

Vocal therapy and resting the voice may help to treat vocal cord lesions.

Overusing or misusing the voice can lead to lesions or sores on the vocal cords. A lesion may form on one side, causing one area of the throat to be sore.

A person with a vocal cord lesion will usually notice a change in their voice, such as hoarseness.

These types of lesions are usually treatable. Resting the voice and vocal therapy are typically used to correct vocal cord lesions. In some cases, lesions will require surgery.

9. Tumors

While they are among the least common causes of a sore throat, tumors can affect the throat and surrounding areas. They may be benign or cancerous.

A tumor can cause soreness on one side of the throat. It may be located in the back of the throat or tongue, or in the larynx, which is commonly known as the voice box.

Usually, a tumor will also lead to symptoms that do not occur with common infections and illnesses.

Possible additional symptoms include:

a lump in the neck, a hoarse voice, noisy breathing, unexplained weight loss, blood in the saliva or bloody phlegm, ongoing cough

When to see a doctor

If a throat is sore on one side, the cause is usually a minor viral infection, such as the common cold. However, it is important to see a doctor if the following symptoms also appear:

an inability to eat or drink because of the sore throat, a severe sore throat that lasts for more than 7 days, swollen lymph nodes that get bigger as the sore throat feels better, difficulty breathing, or a feeling of the throat closing, trouble swallowing, a fever, pus in the back of the throat, body aches or joint pain, an earache, a rash, blood in the mouth, coughing up blood, a lump in the neck, a sore throat that goes away and comes back, hoarseness that lasts for more than 2 weeks

Source: By Jennifer Berry


Source: By Alana Biggers, MD, MPH

A yawn is an involuntary reflex where the mouth is opened wide, and the lungs take in a lot of air. The air is then exhaled slowly. During this time, the eardrums stretch, and the eyes may also close tight, causing them to water.

No thought or action has to be taken to produce a yawn, and the process is similar for everyone. Yawning commonly occurs either before or after sleep, which is why it is usually considered a sign of being tired. Yawning also occurs frequently in people who are doing boring or tedious things.

There is also a social aspect of yawning. Yawning appears to be contagious among humans and other animals, and the contagiousness of a yawn is well documented but hardly understood.

Fast facts on yawning

Here are some key points about yawning. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

Typically, yawning is a response to fatigue or lack of stimulation. Babies can yawn, even in the womb. Yawning is contagious, as part of humans natural empathic response. Yawning serves as a social function, communicating boredom.


There is no definitive reason for a yawn yet. Many proposed theories have surfaced and been studied, and they provide some clues.

A change of state

Whilst yawning is often considered a result of being tired or bored, this may not always be the case.

Yawning is commonly thought to be a sign of sleepiness or boredom, though this is not always the case.

While someone who yawns may be tired, the heart rate quickly rises during a yawn. This increased heart rate suggests yawning can be a sign of alertness rather than sluggishness.

Yawning, in general, may simply be a way for the body to change the state of awareness it is in:

Before bed: yawning could be taken as a sign that the body is preparing for sleep. When bored: yawning while doing a boring task may be a sign of the brain transitioning from a high level of alertness to a lower one. After exercise or sport: yawning after an intense sports activity may be a sign of transitioning from high energy to low energy in the brain.

People may also yawn when changing physical states as well, such as moving from an area of high pressure to low pressure. This pressure can build up in the eardrums and may cause the person to yawn to release it.

A respiratory function

Yawning may be a function of breathing. Yawns may be more likely when the blood needs oxygen. A yawn causes a big intake of air and a faster heartbeat, which could theoretically mean that it is pumping more oxygen through the body. So a yawn may be simply designed to help clear toxins out of the blood and provide a fresh supply of oxygen.

To cool the brain

Yawning may cool the brain. A yawn causes the jaw to stretch out, increasing blood flow in the face and neck. The large inhale and rapid heartbeat caused by the yawn also causes blood and spinal fluid to cycle through the body faster. This whole process may be a way to cool down a brain that has gotten too hot.

A study posted to Physiology & Behavior supported this theory. Researchers found that yawns were more likely at around 20 °C, which is the temperature they suggested would be ideal for cooling off the blood and brain.

As a communication tool

Some researchers believe the reason humans yawn has more to do with evolution. Before humans communicated vocally, they may have used yawns to convey a message.

Yawns are considered a sign of boredom or sleepiness, and that could be what early humans were communicating as well. However, early humans may have used yawning to signal their alertness to others, bare their teeth to aggressors, or serve as some other communication tool.

Yawning in other animals

Humans and chimpanzees are not the only animals that yawn. All vertebrates yawn, from fish and birds to wolves and horses.

There are only three species that yawn contagiously, however: humans, chimpanzees, and the family of wolves and dogs.

Why is yawning contagious?

Whilst almost all animals can yawn, only a few species have been seen to exhibit contagious yawning. Canines such as dogs and wolves are one of those species.

Yawning is a reflex that does not follow any consistent patterns.

One thing that many people agree on is that yawning appears to be contagious. Seeing another person yawn can cause those watching to "catch" the yawn themselves.

Science has wondered why this happens, and many theories have surfaced including:

Time of day: Some researchers have suggested that the time of day or the intelligence of the people who catch the yawn cause contagious yawning, but most people do not think this anymore. Empathy: One of the most common theories is that contagious yawning is a sign of empathy for others. Seeing a person yawn may cause the viewer to yawn, especially if they are close to or comfortable with that person.

A recent study posted to PLOS One showed groups of chimpanzees a video of other chimpanzees yawning. Results revealed that the chimpanzees were more likely to catch the yawn when watching chimpanzees they were familiar with a yawn. This supports the idea that empathy and familiarity are involved in the contagiousness of a yawn.

Another study posted to PLOS One found that contagiousness in humans was an individual response. There was little correlation between intelligence, time of day, or empathy in those tested. The biggest factor they found was age. Older people were less likely to catch a yawn from others.

The full reason for contagious yawns is unknown.

Can one yawn too much?

Yawning is usually harmless, but it is possible to yawn too much. Excessive yawning can be caused by a few different disorders that require medical attention.

The vagus nerve, which is the nerve connecting the throat and abdomen to the brain, can cause excessive yawning by interacting with the blood vessels. This is called a vasovagal reaction. This response may be a sign of a sleep disorder or brain condition. It can even be a sign of heart conditions, such as a heart attack or problems with the aorta.

Anyone experiencing a lot of yawning with no apparent cause should contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

Source: By Alana Biggers, MD, MPH

Source: By Claire Sissons

A burning throat is a common symptom of infections and other underlying medical conditions. It can occur on its own or alongside other symptoms.

In many cases, a person can treat a burning throat at home. Getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids are key for recovery.

In this article, find out about the possible causes of a burning throat and learn when to seek treatment. We also describe how to soothe the symptom with some simple home remedies.

Causes and treatment

There are many possible causes of a burning throat, including:

1. Colds and flu

A common cause of a burning throat is a cold or flu. Viruses cause these illnesses, which affect the respiratory, or breathing, system.

Common symptoms of a cold or flu include:

a burning throat, a cough, a runny nose, aching muscles, tiredness, headaches

The flu can cause complications, so anyone with serious symptoms should seek medical attention. These symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizures, and dizziness.

2. Tonsillitis

The tonsils are lumps of tissue at the back of the throat that help fight off viruses and bacteria. Tonsillitis is an infection that makes the tonsils swell.

The infection usually causes:

pain and discomfort in the throat, difficulty swallowing, red or swollen tonsils, headaches, tirednessa fever, an earache.

Tonsillitis usually clears up within 1–2 weeksTrusted Source. People can treat it at home with plenty of rest, fluids, over-the-counter pain medications, and throat lozenges.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when the muscle connecting the esophagus, or food pipe, to the stomach becomes too weak or relaxed.

When the muscle is not tight enough, food or stomach acid can rise into the throat and sometimes into the back of the mouth.

The main symptom of GERD is heartburn. Other symptoms include:

nausea, bad breath, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, a burning sensation in the throat.

Treatment often involves lifestyle changes, such as cutting rich or acidic foods from the diet. Some people require medication or surgery.

4. Strep throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes several painful symptoms.

Symptoms of strep throat may come on suddenly and include:

a burning throat, pain when swallowing, a fever, headaches, nausea, red or swollen tonsils.

A doctor can diagnose strep throat by taking a throat swab and may prescribe antibiotics. A person should also get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids during recovery.

5. Mono

Infectious mononucleosis, more commonly known as mono, is a very contagious viral infection. Teenagers and young adults are most likely to get it.

Symptoms of the illness usually develop 4–6 weeks after contact with the virus. A painful or burning throat is an early symptom of mono.

Other symptoms include:

fever, extreme tiredness, aching muscles, headaches, a rash.

It often takes 2–4 weeks to recover from mono, but some people have symptoms for months. Treatment involves resting, taking over-the-counter pain medications, and drinking plenty of fluids.

Mono spreads very easily. Doctors advise people who have it not to share foods, drinks, or toothbrushes and to avoid kissing.

6. Burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a pain disorder. It causes pain and a burning or tingling feeling in and around the mouth.

Other symptoms include dry mouth and a strange taste in the mouth. It can affect the lips, tongue, or roof of the mouth.

A doctor may test for underlying causes of burning mouth syndrome before making a diagnosis.

Sucking ice chips, drinking a cool drink, or chewing gum can help manage the discomfort. People may also wish to avoid things that can irritate the mouth, such as alcohol, tobacco, and spicy or acidic foods.

7. Esophagitis

Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus. GERD, medication, infection, or an allergy can cause this inflammation.

Common symptoms include a burning throat, difficulty swallowing, and heartburn.

Untreated esophagitis can cause ongoing health problems, but treatment can lead to a full recovery.

One form of the inflammation is eosinophilic esophagitis. This is a chronic food allergy that causes the food pipe to become inflamed. It can be complex to diagnose, and specialists may need to work together to develop a treatment plan.

Doctors can check for eosinophilic esophagitis by taking a tissue sample from the throat or with a skin prick test or blood tests.

If a specific food is causing the reaction, cutting it from the diet often resolves the inflammation.

Home remedies

Depending on the medical condition responsible for a burning sensation in the throat, a person may require treatment from a doctor.

However, when the symptom is a result of a cold, flu, or tonsillitis, home remedies can be effective at treating symptoms and soothing pain.

Staying hydrated is crucial when recovering from a cold or flu, as the body needs to replace fluids lost from sweating and a runny nose. Water also helps the body function and fight off bacteria and viruses.

Drinking plenty of fluids can help stop the throat from becoming dry, which can cause irritation. To soothe the throat, try drinking a mixture of hot water, honey, and lemon.

Keeping the throat warm can also reduce soreness, as heat relaxes muscles and can soothe the pain. Gently wrap a scarf around the neck to keep it warm.

The body needs time to recover, and resting is key. Taking time off work or school and reducing activity can help with recovery and prevent the spread of illnesses.

When to see a doctor

Treatment at home is usually best for tonsillitis or a cold. Other conditions may require medication.

If a burning throat lasts for more than 2 weeks, see a doctor.

More serious symptoms can accompany a burning throat. If an adult has the flu and any of the following symptoms, they may need urgent medical attention:

chest pain, dizziness, confusion, not urinating, extreme muscle pain, extreme weakness, difficulty breathing, seizures.

Adults over 65, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should seek medical advice if they have concerns about symptoms.


Many infections and other conditions can cause a burning sensation in the throat, including colds, tonsillitis, and GERD.

Soothe the pain by keeping the throat moist and with other home remedies.

If symptoms are severe, or if home remedies are not enough to resolve them within a few weeks, see a doctor for a full diagnosis and treatment.

Source: By Claire Sissons