Pharyngitis, commonly known as a throat infection, is an inflammation of the back part of the throat (pharynx). Most cases of pharyngitis involve some or all of the parts of the throat – the tonsils, soft palate, and the back third of the throat.
What causes pharyngitis?
Bacteria is the most common cause of throat infections. About 90 percent of pharyngitis cases are caused by viruses that also cause the common cold, influenza, or mononucleosis.
As with the bacterial throat infection, the most common cause is group A streptococcus. Although rare, pharyngitis may also develop as a result of other bacterial infections such as gonorrhea, corynebacterium, and chlamydia.
What are the symptoms of pharyngitis?
Sore throat and pain in swallowing are some of the most common symptoms of the infection. Other symptoms may vary, depending on the cause.
In viral pharyngitis, the sore throat may be accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose, redness of the eyes, hoarseness of voice, dry cough, or a red throat.
For bacterial pharyngitis, sore throat and pain in swallowing may be accompanied by fever, headache, body ache, swollen and tender lymph nodes, and enlarged tonsils with white spots.
How is pharyngitis diagnosed and treated?
The diagnosis for pharyngitis is usually made after a thorough physical exam, throat culture, and blood tests.
Treatment for throat inflammation depends on its cause. If it’s viral, home remedies like drinking plenty of fluids, gargling with warm salt water, using a humidifier, and rest may help in alleviating the symptoms.
For bacterial pharyngitis, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Amoxicillin and penicillin are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for a throat infection.
If you suspect that you have pharyngitis, it’s important to see a specialist for proper treatment. Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who are well-experienced in diagnosing and managing throat infections.