(Pharyngitis; Tonsillopharyngitis; Throat Infection)
- Pharyngitis—swelling and inflammation of the pharynx (the back of the throat, including the back of the tongue)
- Tonsillopharyngitis—swelling and inflammation of the pharynx and the tonsils (soft tissue that makes up part of the throat's immune defenses)
|Sore Throat Due to Inflammation|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Infection with a virus, such as the viruses that cause influenza (the flu) and the common cold
- Infection with bacteria, such as the bacteria that cause strep throat
- Infectious mononucleosis
- Mucus from your sinuses that drains into your throat
- Breathing polluted air
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Hay fever or other allergies
- Acid reflux from the stomach
- Food debris collecting in small pockets in the tonsils
- Certain immune or inflammatory disorders
- Age: children and teens, and people aged 65 or older
- Exposure to someone with a sore throat or any other infection involving the throat, nose, or ears
- Exposure to cigarette smoke, toxic fumes, industrial smoke, and other air pollutants
- Having hay fever or other allergies
- Having other conditions that affect your immune system, such as AIDS or cancer
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck
- Hoarse voice
- Red or irritated-looking throat
- Swollen tonsils
- White patches on or near your tonsils
- Runny nose or stuffy nose
When Should I Call My Doctor?
- Experience a worsening of your sore throat or the symptom lasts longer than you or your doctor expect
- Have difficulty swallowing or breathing
Have developed other symptoms, such as:
- White patches on tonsils (may be a sign of strep throat)
- Enlarged lymph nodes on your neck
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or joint aches
- Blood in saliva
This physical exam may include:
- Using a small instrument to look inside the nose, ears, and mouth
- Gently touching the lymph nodes (glands) in your neck to check for swelling
- Taking your temperature
The doctor will ask questions about:
- Your family and medical history
- Recent exposure to someone with strep throat or any other infection of the throat, nose, or ears
Other tests include:
- Rapid strep test or throat culture—using a cotton swab to touch the back of the throat to check for strep throat
- Blood tests —to identify some conditions that may be causing the sore throat
- Mono spot test (if mononucleosis is suspected)
- Antibiotics for strep throat
Drugs to reduce sore throat pain. These drugs include:
- Note : Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome . Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
- Numbing throat spray for pain control
- Decongestants and antihistamines to relieve nasal congestion and runny nose
- Throat lozenges
- Corticosteroids if there is trouble breathing
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Gargle with warm saline several times a day.
- Drink warm liquids (tea or broth), or cool liquids.
- Avoid irritants that might affect your throat, such as tobacco smoke and cold air.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Wash your hands frequently. Do this especially after blowing your nose or after caring for a child with a sore throat.
- If someone in your home has a sore throat, keep their eating utensils and drinking glasses separate from those of other family members. Wash these objects in hot, soapy water.
- If a toddler with a sore throat has been sucking on toys, wash the toys in soap and water.
- Immediately get rid of used tissues, and then wash your hands.
- If you have hay fever or another respiratory allergy, see your doctor. Avoid the substance that causes your allergy.
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.niaid.nih.gov
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Brink AJ, Cotton MF, et al. Guideline for the management of upper respiratory tract infections. S Afr Med J . 2004;94:475-483.
Carson-DeWitt R. Common cold. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary . Updated September 1, 2011. Accessed February 21, 2011.
The difference between a sore throat, strep and tonsillitis. Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/The-Difference-Between-a-Sore-Throat-Strep-and-Tonsillitis.aspx . Updated January 30, 2012. Accessed February 27, 2012.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Streptococcal pharyngitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated October 12, 2010. Accessed November 10, 2010.
Editorial staff and contributors. Strep throat. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary . Updated September 20, 2011. Accessed February 21, 2011.
Mayo Clinic. Sore throat. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sore-throat/DS00526 . Updated October 1, 2007. Accessed June 15, 2008.
Neff D. Discharge instructions for strep throat. EBSCO Patient Education Reference Center (PERC) website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/patient-education-reference-center . December 30, 2011. Accessed February 21, 2011.
Patient UK. Sore throat. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/sore-throat . Accessed November 10, 2010.
Perkins A. An approach to diagnosing the acute sore throat. Am Fam Physician . 1997;55:131-138,141-142.
Sore throat. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/sore-throat.html . Updated March 2009. Accessed November 10, 2010.
Throat problems. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/health-tools/search-by-symptom/throat-problems.html . Accessed February 21, 2011.
Vincent MT, Celestin N, et al. Pharyngitis. Am Fam Physician . 2004;69:1465-1470.
11/10/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Hayward G, Thompson M, Heneghan C, Perera R, Del Mar C, Glasziou P. Corticosteroids for pain relief in sore throat: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ . 2009;339.