Salivary Glands & Ear Infections


The ear and salivary glands are parts of the body that are often paid little attention. However infections can and do happen through some of the most routine activities, like eating, to more singular pursuits such as scuba diving.

Close up of ear.
Close up of ear. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The Salivary Glands

The salivary glands are located near the mouth and throat, and are responsible for secreting saliva, more commonly known as spit, to the mouth, according to The major glands are called the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. Saliva is also secreted through salivary ducts, which drain saliva, as well as through the submandibular, located under the teeth, and sublingual.

Salivary glands are in the mouth and throat.
Salivary glands are in the mouth and throat. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Salivary Gland Problems

According to, several abnormalities can result in clinical symptoms for salivary glands. Saliva flow obstruction often occurs in the parotid and submandibular glands. Symptoms, such as swelling, often happen during eating. Saliva is produced but cannot leave the saliva ducts, leading to pain and possibly infection.

Secondary infection of salivary glands from nearby lymph nodes can also happen. These nodes, located within the parotid gland, usually become very large, red and tender during a sore throat. Other conditions, such as tumors, can also enlarge the lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes are related to throat issues.
Lymph nodes are related to throat issues. (Image: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images)

Other Salivary Infections

The most common salivary infection is the mumps, according to Occurring in the parotid glands, it is most common in children, but can also effect adults.

Child with mumps.
Child with mumps. (Image: Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Ear Infection

Ear infection can happen in the ear canal, the eardrum, or the middle ear. While most ear injuries are the result of changing pressure, such as sport scuba diving, an ear in constant pain may be a sign of infection, according to

Symptoms of infection include ear pain, hearing loss, nausea, vomiting and discharge from the ear, commonly called swimmers' ear. An ear infection may happen after a recent bout with the common cold.

Looking inside ear for infection.
Looking inside ear for infection. (Image: Leah-Anne Thompson/iStock/Getty Images)


There are various ways of treating an ear infection, according to Using pain relievers such as Advil or Tylenol can be helpful, as well as applying heat to the ear with a warm towel or heating pad. Resting or using ear drops are also effective treatments.

Even with these remedies, if an ear infection is suspected it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Close up of Tylenol.
Close up of Tylenol. (Image: iammacintosh/iStock/Getty Images)

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