What Is It?
A sore throat, also known as pharyngitis, is a painful inflammation of the back part of the throat (pharynx). Pharyngitis can involve the following parts of the throat:
Viruses and bacteria are the most common causes of sore throat.
Most throat infections (90%) are caused by viruses. In regions that have warm summers and cool winters, viral pharyngitis typically peaks during the winter and early spring. During these seasons, people are more likely to gather in poorly ventilated rooms. The viruses that cause this infection spread easily through the air in droplets from coughs, sneezes and runny noses.
Simple viral pharyngitis is usually uncomfortable with no long lasting problems. Non viral pharyngitis are usually caused by bacteria. The most common cause being group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (aka strep throat).
Untreated strep throat can lead to serious complications, such as glomerulonephritis (a kidney disorder) and rheumatic fever (a potentially serious illness that can damage heart valves). A strep infection also has the potential to spread within the body, causing pockets of pus (abscesses) in the tonsils and in the soft tissue around the throat.
The main symptom of pharyngitis is a pain to the area affected. In infectious pharyngitis, other symptoms vary depending on whether the infection is viral or bacterial (usually strep throat):
Viral pharyngitis —Sore throat often is accompanied the following symptoms:
Strep throat — Strep throat and other forms of bacterial pharyngitis cause sore throat, pain with swallowing and a red throat. These symptoms tend to be more severe with Strep throat compared to viral pharyngitis. Other symptoms that often occur with Strep throat include:,
It can be difficult to differentiate viral and bacterial pharyngitis because they share many symptoms and may look similar on physical exam by your doctor.
A sore throat that lasts for more than a couple of weeks may be caused by acid reflux from the stomach, breathing through the mouth in a dry environment, postnasal drip or, rarely, a tumor.
After reviewing your symptoms, the doctor will ask if you might recently have been exposed to someone with strep throat or any other infection involving the throat, nose or ears.
After recording your temperature, your doctor will examine you, paying particular attention to your mouth, throat, nose, ears and the lymph nodes in your neck. If your doctor is quite sure that you have strep throat, he or she may prescribe antibiotics without further testing. If there is some uncertainty, the doctor may want to do a strep test.
A rapid strep test is done in your doctor’s office, takes only a few minutes to do and detects 80% to 90% of all cases of strep throat. If this quick test is negative, but your doctor still believes you might have strep, your doctor will take a sample of your throat fluids for more intensive testing in a laboratory. Results will be available in 24 to 48 hours.
If you have simple viral pharyngitis, your symptoms should go away gradually over a period of about one week. If you have strep throat, your symptoms should subside within two to three days after you begin taking antibiotics.
While it’s impossible to prevent all infections, you can help to decrease exposure and spreading:
Viral pharyngitis is treated with supportive care, things to make you more comfortable. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Bacterial pharyngitis caused by strep infection is treated with antibiotics.
When To See a Medical Professional
Call your doctor promptly if you have a sore throat along with any of the following symptoms:
Also, call your doctor if you have any type of throat discomfort that lasts for more than two weeks.
At Life Savers Emergency Room, we are fully equipped to diagnose and treat throat and other respiratory infections with our on site pharmacy, laboratory and X-ray department. We have radiology services on call 24/7 as well as surgical specialists on call for your care.Give Us Call on 8327795433.
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