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What is pharyngitis? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Pharyngitis means an  inflammation of the pharynx  . The pharynx is located at the back of the mouth and has the shape of a funnel. It is involved in  swallowing  (passage of food from the mouth to the esophagus),  breathing  (passage of air from the mouth to the larynx), and  phonation  (influence on the sounds produced by the vocal cords). Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the pharynx, usually caused by a  mild infection  caused by a  virus  or  bacteria  . When the inflammation also affects the nasal mucosa, it is called  rhino-pharyngitis  .
There are two types of pharyngitis:
– Infective pharyngitis due to viruses or bacteria.
– Non-infectious pharyngitis, due to various attacks likely to cause inflammation of the pharynx.


Causes of pharyngitis

virus  or  bacteria  can be responsible for acute pharyngitis. Pharyngitis may also be secondary to a non-infectious cause, especially in the case of chronic pharyngitis:  iron deficiency  , exposure to an  allergen  such as  pollen  ,  pollution  ,  alcohol  ,  spray  or  cigarette smoke, a lack of vitamin A, exposure to poorly ventilated or conditioned dry air, chronic exposure to dust, the abuse of nasal drops, radiation (radiotherapy). It may also be related to mouth breathing, nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis, or enlarged vegetation. Menopause, diabetes or hypothyroidism can also cause pharyngitis, as well as respiratory failure, chronic bronchitis or poorly managed use of the voice (singers, speakers, speakers …)


Acute rheumatic fever: This  is a serious and complicated complication of doctors during infectious pharyngitis. It occurs during an infection with a bacterium called ß-hemolytic streptococcus group A, which can lead to dangerous heart and joint disorders. This tonsillitis is most common between 5 and 18 years and requires antibiotic treatment to prevent these complications.

Glomerulonephritis   : this is a kidney damage that can occur after the same type of pharyngitis due to Group A ß-hemolytic streptococci. Peripharyngeal
abscess  : this is a collared area containing pus which must then be drained surgically.

The extension of the infection  can lead to sinusitis, rhinitis, otitis media, pneumonia …

How to diagnose it?

The  clinical observation  only the doctor to make a diagnosis. I have examined the patient’s throat and notices the inflammation (  red throat  ). By palpating the patient’s neck, I have sometimes seen that the lymph nodes have increased in size. In some cases, a sample of the fluid that covers the tonsils will be made using a small  swab -shaped  device called a  swab  to detect ß-haemolytic streptococci group A, potential sources of negative behaviors .

This pharyngitis can be acute or chronic.
Acute pharyngitis  : transient and frequent, it is most often of infectious origin, by local bacteria or viruses. It can also correspond to the beginning of a general infectious disease like measles, scarlet fever, rubella, mononucleosis … There are also accidental pharyngitis by heat burns or  chronic  pharyngitis acid: it can be due to many factors are non-infectious.

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What are the symptoms of pharyngitis?

Pharyngitis is a chain of symptoms that affects most of the throat. Here are some examples of symptoms:

  • Irritation of the pharynx
  • Sore throat  more or less important
  • Sensation of dryness in the throat
  • Foreign body print with itching and burning in the throat
  • Frequent  fever  in children with infectious pharyngitis
  • Swallowing pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Throat clearing
  • Sometimes  tonsillitis  (inflammation of the tonsils)
  • Sometimes,  runny nose

What are the risk factors for pharyngitis?

Pharyngitis can be caused by various factors related to smoking and alcoholism, but also because of exposure to factors that promote its triggering: cold air, dry, dusty, air conditioning, the abuse of nasal drops. A weakening of the immune system also plays a role in the occurrence of pharyngitis. There are also factors such as respiratory failure, chronic bronchitis, respiratory allergy, diabetes and hypothyroidism.

What are the traitions of pharyngitis?

Antibiotics should be given in case of bacterial infection, especially to prevent the sometimes very dangerous complications of strep throat (they have no effect on viruses).

In cases of acute infectious pharyngitis not due to group A ß-haemolytic streptococci,  salt water  gargles  , thyme honey diluted in hot water and the same of  hot drinks  are recommended. There are also  lozenges  to soothe sore throat.

Drug treatment is also based on the use  of analgesics  (painkillers)  and antipyretics  (anti-fever),  painkillers   such as  paracetamol. 
Antiallergic treatment is sometimes prescribed when pharyngitis is associated with an allergy.

Inflammatory antisera and cortisone should be avoided in pharyngitis. They are likely to increase sometimes very attractive like abscesses of the throat. However, they can be prescribed by a doctor when they are combined with antibiotics.

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