Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Acute Pharyngitis?

Acute pharyngitis is an inflammation of the throat, causing discomfort and pain. Often resulting from viral or bacterial infections, it can lead to symptoms like sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and fever. Accompanied by vivid images, our article breaks down its causes, treatments, and prevention strategies. How can understanding acute pharyngitis better protect your health? Join us to uncover the answers.
D. Jeffress
D. Jeffress

Acute pharyngitis is the medical term for throat inflammation. Most cases are caused by common viruses and bacteria in the respiratory tract, but fungi, irritating chemicals, and allergy-inducing foods can also lead to symptoms. Acute pharyngitis typically results in a sore, dry throat and a hoarse voice. Home remedies and and a few days of rest are usually enough to get over pharyngitis, but a person who has an especially severe or persistent throat problem should visit a doctor to learn about treatment options.

Many different viruses can cause pharyngitis, including adenovirus, Epstein-Barr, and herpes simplex. Streptococcus is the most common bacterial throat infection, especially in young children and people with weakened immune systems. Acute pharyngitis can also occur in absence of infection if a sensitive person is subjected to secondhand smoke; pollutants; chemical fumes; or cold, dry air.

Respiratory infections can cause severe sore throats.
Respiratory infections can cause severe sore throats.

The main symptom of the condition is a sore throat that causes difficulties speaking and swallowing. Throat irritation usually results in a raspy, soft voice. Depending on the cause, a person may also have fever, head and body aches, nausea, and coughing fits. An infection that spreads to the tonsils can lead to an abscess and major throat swelling. Medical care should be sought right away if it becomes very difficult to breathe and open the mouth.

Acute pharyngitis is a medical term used to refer to throat inflammation.
Acute pharyngitis is a medical term used to refer to throat inflammation.

A physician can usually diagnose acute pharyngitis during a simple physical exam. A swab of mucus may be collected from the throat and tested to check for specific bacteria and viruses. If symptoms are severe and body-wide, blood work may be needed as well to screen for systemic infections.

In most cases, viral acute pharyngitis does not respond well to medications. Patients simply need to wait out the sickness, which may take up to two weeks. Drinking plenty of water is important to stay hydrated and relieve dryness in the throat. Warm liquids, numbing lozenges, and hard candies tend to soothe a sore throat as well. If streptococcus or another bacterium is determined to be the cause, a doctor may prescribe a short course of daily antibiotics.

Over-the-counter throat lozenges can help irritated, scratchy throats caused by pharyngitis.
Over-the-counter throat lozenges can help irritated, scratchy throats caused by pharyngitis.

Pharyngitis rarely causes complications or becomes a chronic problem, but it is possible for an infection to bury deep within the throat and tonsils and lead to persistent symptoms. Surgery may be needed to repair severely damaged throat tissue or remove swollen tonsils. Recovery from surgery can take several weeks, but most patients are able to heal completely without experiencing recurring problems.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

candyquilt

@ddjohn-- I'm not sure but I don't think pharyngitis is a sign of HIV. It may be a sign of herpes though which is a sexually transmitted disease.

I think HIV is a very far-fetched possibility. Sinus infections and even smoking can cause pharyngitis. We've all had it at some point. It's not a very big deal.

fBoyle

I've had pharyngitis off and on for years. Any time I have seasonal allergies or a cold, my throat starts to hurt and becomes swollen. My voice is the first thing to go.

I'm tired of taking medications for it, so I usually get through it with home remedies for sore throat and herbal teas and lozenges. My favorite teas are peppermint and chamomile teas with honey. I also add fresh ginger and lemon slices sometimes. I use lozenges that have a numbing effect.

One home remedy that's very good is gargling with warm salt water. I do this several times a day when I have pharyngitis. It relieves inflammation and pain and also kills bacteria.

ddljohn

Is acute sore throat a sign of an HIV infection?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Respiratory infections can cause severe sore throats.
      By: Alexander Raths
      Respiratory infections can cause severe sore throats.
    • Acute pharyngitis is a medical term used to refer to throat inflammation.
      By: corepics
      Acute pharyngitis is a medical term used to refer to throat inflammation.
    • Over-the-counter throat lozenges can help irritated, scratchy throats caused by pharyngitis.
      By: kostrez
      Over-the-counter throat lozenges can help irritated, scratchy throats caused by pharyngitis.
    • Bacterial causes of acute pharyngitis can be treated with antibiotics.
      By: NorGal
      Bacterial causes of acute pharyngitis can be treated with antibiotics.
    • Surgery may be needed to repair severely damaged throat tissue or remove swollen tonsils.
      By: llhedgehogll
      Surgery may be needed to repair severely damaged throat tissue or remove swollen tonsils.