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Pharynx is the part of the throat situated immediately inferior to (below) the nasal cavity, posterior to the mouth and inflammation of the pharynx is called Pharyngitis. It’s a very common infection that can happen to anyone. We shall discuss the details in the following content.

Symptoms of pharyngitis

The symptoms of pharyngitis are varied and it depends on the nature of the infection. Usually the following symptoms are experienced during pharyngitis.

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Pain in ears
  • Headache
  • Body ache
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Redness inside throat
  • Altered tone of speech
  • Irritation inside throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing

Are there any major health risks?

Minor symptoms like that of pain and redness in throat can be cured with home remedies. But, if the internal tissues swell excessively, it can hinder your breathing and can cause chocking. Failing to take antibiotics to prevent strep throat can cause rheumatic fever, scarlet fever (rashes on skin) and even respiratory arrest.

Causes of pharyngitis

The main cause behind pharyngitis is viral infection. However, it can be caused by bacterial infection as well.

Swelling of the pharynx is one of the symptoms of flu. It’s can even be caused by Herpes simplex virus and Epstein Barr virus.

Group A Beta Hemolytic Streptococci (GABHS) is mainly responsible of such kind of infection i.e. Strep throat. Other contributing species include Neisseria gonorrhea, Hemophilus Influenza Type B, Mycoplasma and Chlamydia pneumonia

Other causes of pharyngitis could be poor oral hygiene, infection from chemicals or allergens and decreased immunity of the body (a person with diabetes, cancer- undergoing chemotherapy, HIV, etc).

Continuous exposure to smoke, chewing tobacco products including cigarettes, poor diet, and suffering from chronic sinus infection are some factors responsible for pharyngitis.

Diagnosis of pharyngitis

If you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, then you must fix an appointment with an ENT specialist. The doctor will conduct an exam to look into your throat and nose with a lighted instrument for checking the symptoms of pharyngitis.

He will feel swelling in glands and check your breathing with a stethoscope

If your doctor suspects streptococcal infection, then a throat swab test will be recommended. Secretions will be collected from your throat for lab testing.

Blood tests (Complete Blood Count test) may also be suggested on suspecting viral infections like measles, flu, whooping cough, etc. Furthermore, allergy tests also help diagnose the underlying cause of pharyngitis.

Treatment for Pharyngitis

If bacterial infection has been diagnosed, then antibiotics are prescribed for a due course of time. The infection disappears after completion of the course.

Anti-viral medicines act against viruses while anti-allergic drugs are administered to combat allergies. The inflammation in the pharynx goes with cure of the viral infection or allergies. OTC pain killers are also given parallelly to get rid of headaches, ear pain, throat pain, etc.

Your doctor will suggest you several home remedies that essentially relieve you from pain and discomfort in the throat.

Home Remedies for Pharyngitis

  • Sleep it off! It’s because sleep allows your body to recover faster. Take rest and sleep
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water to soothe dryness and itching inside throat
  • Drink warm fluids like soups and broths. You can also have soft boiled eggs and juices but no spicy foods
  • Drink warm tea with zest of ginger. Green tea is also a good medicine
  • Gargle 5-6 times a day with warm water mixed with salt
  • Use a humidifier in your room to keep you internal passages moist
  • Stay away from allergens, irritants and pollutants

The inflammation takes 10-14 days to heal completely. However, do not delay in medical checkup. Listen to your doctor and heal yourself fast.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 16, 2015