Acute pharyngitis

The effects of weather on health can range from extremely good to extremely bad, depending on a lot of factors. One such factor is the presence of airborne diseases, which can often have hazardous effects on health if said diseases are contracted by someone. Airborne diseases make even the most beautiful weather dangerous. Pharyngitis is one such airborne disease, which is usually caused in winter. Its main symptom is a sore throat, which is usually the result of a swelling of the pharynx. Luckily, acute pharyngitis, while bad, is not too serious, and is actually quite a common occurrence, especially in young adults and children. There is chronic pharyngitis as well, while the acute pharyngitis is typified by the course of a rapid onset of the disease which spans for relatively shorter periods once the patients are affected.

There are two types of pharyngitis, acute and chronic. Acute pharyngitis is fairly common, and is usually caused by a viral infection. This virus that causes pharyngitis is often the same one that causes the common cold, and often the initial symptoms of pharyngitis are confused by the latter. Carriers of this virus generally do not suffer from pharyngitis themselves but simply spread the disease wherever they go. However, they do tend to suffer from rheumatic fever now and then, and a repetitive outbreak of pharyngitis may occur in the surrounding people as a consequence of it.

Pharyngitis can be prevented by:

  • Frequently washing hands
  • Not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke exposure
  • Use of a humidifier, in case of dry environments
  • Avoiding direct contact with someone with a cold

Symptoms of pharyngitis include;

  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Aching body
  • Chills
  • Tonsil inflammation
  • Liver inflammation
  • Spleen inflammation
  • Loss of appetite

Pharyngitis is more common in those people who suffer from or are subject to:

  • Allergies
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
  • Physical irritation, like from a medical procedure
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Sinus Infections
  • Smoking habits
  • Second-hand smoke inhalation
  • Exposure to industrial fumes
  • Close contact with a pharyngitis patient

When patients are presented with rhinorrhea, cough, conjunctivitis and hoarseness, doctors will usually test for Group A Strep. It has been proven that it is almost impossible to differentiate between Group A Strep and pharyngitis caused by viral infection. A doctor may order a throat culture. Usually temperature checks are performed along with examinations of the throat, ears, sinus, nose, neck and lungs.

Acute pharyngitis can be treated by medication, lifestyle change or a surgery. If the infection is bacterial, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If it is viral then medication will not help, but it will go away on its own. Doctors may recommend:

  • Gargling with warm, salt water
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Rest
  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Drinking and eating warm drinks and food
  • Cool air or humidity increase
  • Cough drops or throat lozenges
  • Honey consumption
  • Vitamin C supplements
  • Probiotic intake
  • Use of Anesthetic throat spray

The doctor may also prescribe over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Advil to reduce symptomatic effects. Children should not be given aspirin because it can cause Reye’s disease and lead to life-threatening complications. In severe cases of pharyngitis, especially in young children who suffer from multiple cases of sore throats in a year, a tonsillectomy may be required.

A sore throat can also be a symptom of a larger infection. However, if it in not a bacterial or viral infection, antibiotics wont help. However, a normal sore throat will go away automatically in a week or even less. In case it does not, a doctor should be consulted to check for further infection or a greater disease, and treatment should be started immediately.

Last updated on Sep 4th, 2010 and filed under Other Conditions & Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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