The pharynx is the medical term for the back of the throat. Pharyngitis is inflammation of the pharynx or what most people call a sore throat. Pharyngitis often causes a scratchy feeling in the throat and pain, or even difficulty, swallowing. It is one of the most common causes of both visits to the doctor and days home from work or school. Acute pharyngitis can be caused by either a bacterial or, more commonly, a viral infection.

Acute pharyngitis is very common because everyone is at risk for getting it. Those who are frequently exposed to the cold and flu, for example healthcare workers and elementary school teachers, are at an increased risk of developing acute pharyngitis. It is also more common in the winter months.


Because there are many possible causes of acute pharyngitis, the symptom can also vary depending on the cause. The most obvious symptoms include a sore and dry throat but may also be accompanied by: ? Cough ? Sneezing ? Runny nose ? Fever and chills ? Headache and body aches ? Fatigue ? Swollen lymph nodes ? Difficulty swallowing ? Nausea and loss of appetite

Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Pharyngitis
Some of the most common causes of acute pharyngitis include the common cold, the flu, and mononucleosis (mono). Each of these is a virus and, as such, cannot be treated with antibiotics. As a result, treatment is usually aimed at lessening symptoms rather than treating the underlying cause of illness. While less common, acute pharyngitis may also be caused by a bacterial infection. When this is the case, such as with bacterial pharyngitis caused by strep throat, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or diphtheria, antibiotics are the best treatment. If you suspect that one of these may be the underlying cause of your pharyngitis, talk to a doctor right away.
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