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, or sore throat, is inflammation of the tissues and structures in your pharynx (throat). Pharyngitis is most often caused by bacteria. It may also be caused by a cold or flu virus. Other causes include smoking, allergies, or acid reflux.
Signs and symptoms that may occur with pharyngitis:
- Sore throat or pain when you swallow
- Fever, chills, and body aches
- Hoarse or raspy voice
- Cough, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes
- Upset stomach and loss of appetite
- Mild neck stiffness
- Swollen glands that feel like hard lumps when you touch your neck
- White and yellow pus-filled blisters in the back of your throat
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have trouble breathing or swallowing because your throat is swollen or sore.
Seek care immediately if:
- You are drooling because it hurts too much to swallow.
- Your fever is higher than 102˚F (39˚C) or lasts longer than 3 days.
- You are confused.
- You taste blood in your throat.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your throat pain gets worse.
- You have a painful lump in your throat that does not go away after 5 days.
- Your symptoms do not improve after 5 days.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Treatment for pharyngitis:
Viral pharyngitis will go away on its own without treatment. Your sore throat should start to feel better in 3 to 5 days for both viral and bacterial infections. You may need any of the following:
- Antibiotics treat a bacterial infection.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
Manage your symptoms:
- Gargle salt water. Mix ¼ teaspoon salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gargle. This may help decrease swelling in your throat.
- Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more liquids than usual. Liquids may help soothe your throat and prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Use a cool-steam humidifier to help moisten the air in your room and calm your cough.
- Soothe your throat with cough drops, ice, soft foods, or popsicles.
Prevent the spread of pharyngitis:
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Do not share food or drinks. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.