A swollen tongue and sore throat can be symptoms of a few different problems. Most commonly they are indicators of an allergic reaction, mononucleosis or tongue cancer. An infection in the mouth can also cause these symptoms. Other less common issues may also be responsible for a swollen tongue and sore throat. Many problems caused by these symptoms can be serious and may need emergency attention.
Allergic reactions can sometimes cause a swollen tongue and sore throat, depending on the severity of the reaction. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction may include trouble breathing, hives, rashes and sneezing. A swollen tongue also can be a cause of the breathing problems, if the tongue swells enough to block the throat. The issues that occur because of a person’s allergies may appear on just one area or may affect the person’s entire body.
Mononucleosis, or mono, is often known as the “kissing disease” because it is transferred from one person to another by saliva. It can also be spread by mucus and tears. It is a virus that leaves a person feeling extremely tired for a long time. Once a person contracts the virus, it will be present in his body for the rest of his life, sometimes becoming active and contagious.
Symptoms of mono include weakness, extreme fatigue, fever, a swollen tongue and sore throat. Only a doctor will be able to tell if mono is the cause for all of these issues, and he will usually place the patient on bed rest for a while. If the ill person takes care of himself and gets a lot of rest, mono symptoms usually go away. Prescription medication may be needed, but most of the time acetaminophen to bring down the fever and calm the sore throat is all that is needed.
Tongue cancer is a very serious condition that, if it is left untreated, can lead to death. Some symptoms of this condition include a swollen tongue and sore throat. A person might also experience swollen lymph nodes, ear aches, white patches on the tongue, red patches on the tongue, numbness, pain and bleeding. Sometimes there is also a lump on the tongue.
The symptoms that occur with tongue cancer can also be symptoms of other problems. For this reason, only a doctor can decide whether a person has cancer of the tongue. He will most likely take a person’s history, do a physical examination and then perform a biopsy of the tongue before making a diagnosis.