The skin area next to my ear hurts when I scratch it, but when I just touch it, I don't feel it. What could it be?


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Phil Newton answered

If you're feeling pain when you scratch the skin near your ear it's likely that you've got swollen lymph glands.  They tend to hurt when messed with, so you probably wouldn't feel any pain if you simply touched them.

What are swollen lymph glands?

Your body contains many lymph glands that are made up of tissue containing white blood cells.  What these lymph glands do is help your body fight off infections.

When you've got an infection of some kind, your lymph glands swell up as the white blood cells start to eradicate the issue.  These lymph glands can swell in the neck, armpit and groin. 

What causes lymph glands to swell?

As mentioned above, lymph gland swell when your body is dealing with an infection.  Some of the common infections include tonsillitis, laryngitis, ear infections, cullulitis, and the common cold. 

The general symptoms of swollen lymph glands are pretty simple; swollen glands and pain if they're pressed. 

If you've had what you believe to be swollen lymph glands for a prolonged period of time you should seek the advice of your doctor.  In most instances, you'll likely have a common infection, but there are rarer cases of swollen lymph glands indicating blood poisoning or cancer.  For the most part, however, your best bet is to not disturb the swollen lymph glands, and let them get on with making you better.

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