What is pharyngitis?

Pharyngitis, or sore throat, is inflammation of the pharynx, which is located between the tonsils and the larynx. This disease can be acute or chronic. Acute pharyngitis usually subsides within a week and is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It causes sore throat, fever, rash, redness of the pharynx, swollen lymph nodes, headache and difficulty swallowing. Chronic pharyngitis affects those who by constitution have a weak pharyngeal mucosa.

Most cases tend to occur during the colder months. The disease is often spread among family members and close contacts.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of pharyngitis is a sore throat. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, rash and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Medical tests for pharyngitis

The diagnosis of pharyngitis is based on symptoms and examination of the patient. In addition, medical tests such as a blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate or antistreptolysin level (ASLO) determination may be required.

Causes of pharyngitis

Pharyngitis is caused by swelling of the back of the throat, known as the pharynx. It is most often due to colds, flu, coxsackie virus or mononucleosis.

Can it be prevented?

To prevent pharyngitis, contact with pharyngeal secretions should be avoided by, for example, the use of gloves by the dentist. It is also important to wash hands and avoid sharing cups or eating utensils with sick people.

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What is the treatment?

Depending on the origin of the infection, treatment consists of antibiotics or medications to relieve symptoms. It is also important to rest, drink warm liquids and gargle.

The treatment of chronic pharyngitis seeks to alleviate symptoms and is based on avoiding adverse environments and factors that worsen the pathology. When it occurs repeatedly or causes serious complications, the patient may require surgery.

If not properly treated, it can lead to ear infection, sinusitis or peritonsillar abscess.

What specialist treats pharyngitis?

Pharyngitis can be treated by a specialist in Otolaryngology.