At the back of the throat is located the pharynx. When it gets inflamed it leads to a condition called sore throat or Pharyngitis. The disease occurs mostly during the winter months of the year. Pharyngitis may be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Whooping cough, influenza, common cold, mononucleosis, measles, croup or a barking cough, chickenpox or adenovirus are the numerous bacterial and viral agents that could cause this disease.
Symptoms of Pharyngitis can be best relieved with proper treatment. The risk of getting the disease increases in people with frequent exposure to flu and colds especially due to sinus infections, allergies and jobs at healthcare units. The risk of getting the disease also increases with exposure to second hand smoke.
Depending upon the underlying condition, symptoms of Pharyngitis may vary. Symptoms of Pharyngitis include difficulty while swallowing and scratching sensation in the throat. The patient may also experience low grade fever, sneezing, chills, body aches, runny nose, cough and headache. In addition other symptoms like appetite loss, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, general malaise, severe fatigue and rash may occur.
Another type of pharyngitis is Strep Throat in which symptoms like gray or white patches in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, nausea, appetite loss, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, general malaise and unusual taste is experienced in the mouth.
Diagnosis of the disease is done by physical examination by the doctor. Throat culture is taken in case the doctor suspects Strep Throat. Blood tests are done to determine the cause of Pharyngitis. Symptoms can be best relieved by taking good rest, drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration, using humidifier, drinking warm broth and gargling with warm salt water. Over the counter medications are given for fever and pain relief. To sooth a scratchy and painful throat, throat lozenges prove to be very helpful. Using herbs like slippery elm, honeysuckle, sage, marshmallow root and licorice are the other alternative remedies in treating Pharyngitis. To prevent infection from worsening or returning, antibiotics may also be given by the doctor.