Skip to Content
Vaccines aren’t just for kids. Is your teen protected?

Pharyngitis, Ambulatory Care

Pharyngitis

is swelling of the inside of your throat, called the pharynx. Pharyngitis is often caused by a cold or flu virus. It may also be caused by bacteria such as strep. Other causes include smoking, a runny nose, allergies, or acid reflux.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • 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
  • Headache
  • 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

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • A painful lump in your throat that does not go away after 5 days
  • Blood in your throat or ear
  • Fever higher than 102˚F (39˚C) or lasts longer than 3 days
  • Confusion
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

Treatment for pharyngitis

may include antibiotics if your sore throat is caused by bacteria. Viral pharyngitis will go away on its own without treatment. Your sore throat should start to feel better within 3 to 5 days for both viral and bacterial infections. Pain medicine may also be given to decrease your sore throat pain.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Gargle with salt water to help reduce swelling in your throat. Mix ¼ teaspoon salt with 1 cup of warm water and gargle.
  • Drink more liquids to help prevent dehydration. Cold or warm drinks may help soothe your throat.
  • Humidify your room with 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.
  • Rest your throat as much as possible. Try not to use your voice to decrease throat irritation.

Prevent the spread of germs

by washing your hands with soap and warm water. Pharyngitis spreads easily from one person to another. Do not share food or drinks.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Hide