Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Viral pharyngitis is the most common cause of a sore throat.
Pharyngitis may occur as part of a viral infection that also involves other organ systems, such as the lungs or bowel.
- Discomfort when swallowing
Fever Joint painor muscle aches
- Sore throat
swollen lymph nodesin the neck
Signs and tests
Usually the health care provider makes a diagnosis by examining the throat. A
There is no specific treatment for viral pharyngitis. You can relieve symptoms by gargling with warm salt water (one half-teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) several times a day and taking anti-inflammatory drugs or medications, such as acetaminophen, to control fever. Excessive use of anti-inflammatory lozenges or sprays may make a sore throat worse.
It is important to avoid antibiotics when a sore throat is due to a viral infection. The antibiotics will not help. Using them to treat viral infections helps strengthen bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
In some sore throats (such as infectious
Symptoms usually go away within a week to 10 days.
Complications of viral pharyngitis are extremely uncommon.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms last longer than expected or do not improve with self-care. Always seek medical care if you have a sore throat and have extreme discomfort or difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Most cases are not preventable, because the viruses and bacteria that cause sore throats are commonly found in the environment. However, always wash your hands after contact with a person who has a sore throat. Avoid kissing or sharing cups and eating utensils with sick individuals.