Published on Dec 08, 2016 and last reviewed on Aug 02, 2019 - 5 min read
Throat infection is referred as pharyngitis. It is characterized by irritation, pain, burning sensation, scratching feeling in the throat. It initiates with difficulties during swallowing. The most common cause for this is viral or bacterial infection. Sometimes this bacterium is self controlled.
This falls in the top 10 disease groups. Some researches show that about 600 million people have had sore throat in their life span. This problem lasts for a minimum of 3 to 4 days even after taking proper treatment. All races and both genders are affected. Most common age for this problem is 5 to 15 years. Children below 3 years of age are less commonly affected.
It is a one type of upper respiratory tract infection. It is referred as swelling of trachea or tonsils. Both viral and bacterial pharyngitis have similar pathophysiology, signs and symptoms. It is one type of contaminated disease and it spreads from one person to another person via sputum or sneeze particles.
Its onset is sudden and disturbs one’s day to day activities because it disturbs the swallowing of food and fluid leading to weakness.
There are many signs and symptoms associated with pharyngitis. They are as follows:
Headache - severe headache occurs due to congestion in sinuses. It is referred as sinus headache. Due to inflammation of the tracheal wall, there is irritation which leads to over secretion of the sputum constantly. This sputum accumulates into sinuses around trachea and gets trapped into it. This blockage of sinuses cause headache. It may be associated with sneezing, itching and pain. Pain is aggravated by cold weather and damp atmosphere, forward bending movement, in early morning, and in winter.
Cough is absent in acute pharyngitis. It appears after 24 hours of initiation.
Fever - high grade fever occurs with bacterial infection. Temperature of body is above 38 degree Celsius or 100.4 Fahrenheit. Fever which is associated with pharyngitis is known as scarlet fever.
Joint pain and muscle ache - pain is felt in muscles around neck and shoulder because of over use. Swelling of tonsils cause over use of these muscles.
Swollen lymph nodes - there are many glands present in our body for providing immunity. These nodes get swollen due to infection of bacteria especially from staphylococcus group A ( most common bacteria).
Abscessed or impacted tooth - abscessed tooth causes inflammation of the adjacent tissue such as tonsils and trachea which leads to sore throat or throat infection.
Oral ulcers - it mostly occurs due to infection of bacteria such as candida species, which cause spread of infection to trachea, that leads to irritation and swelling of throat. It presents as white patches in the mouth.
Viral infection - rhinovirus, corona virus and para influenza virus grow in cold weather more and more in throat and cause infection. It comes from respiratory tract only and gets trapped into trachea.
Bacterial infection - there are many types of bacteria which cause throat infection but most common bacteria are staphylococcus group A in adults and group C and G in children. Bacteria and virus are usually spread from persons already infected with this infection. Infected persons while sneezing release tiny droplets with these organisms in air and this air when inhaled by a noninfected person leads to sore throat. These virus and bacteria release the toxins and irritate the throat, which stimulates the mucosa to release the inflammatory elements and cause throat inflammation.
Gastroesophageal reflux - regurgitation of the acid from stomach into mouth causes damage of the mucosa of throat and may increase the risk of infection.
There are not many tests available for diagnosing throat infection. In primary stage, only visual observation and palpation is used and in later stage or chronic stage, throat culture test is used.
This disease is self limiting in nature and symptoms associated with it are relieved within three to four days. There are many pharmacological treatments used to treat pharyngitis.
If antibiotics are given early in this disease, the symptoms will be relieved within one day. It is best used in this case without cough.
They are best used in chronic case of throat infection. They are widely used in treating swelling.
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A sore throat that results from infection by a virus is called viral throat infection. The common viruses that cause throat infection are the influenza virus (cold and flu), varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox), and Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis).
Likewise, a sore throat that results from infection by bacteria is called bacterial throat infection. Streptococcus (strep throat) is the most common cause of bacterial throat infection.
Candidiasis or oral thrust that is caused by the yeast Candida is the most common type of yeast infection that can affect the mouth, throat, gastrointestinal tract, and genitals. Candida lives inside the body, and when your immunity is weak, it grows and results in infection.
Depending on the cause, a throat infection can be treated by:
- Throat lozenges.
- Cough syrup.
- Herbal tea.
- Warm salt water gargle.
- Antacids for acid reflux.
- Antibiotics if it is a bacterial infection.
- Take a lot of fluids.
A viral throat infection will last for about a week to ten days. And you will feel better within 2 to 3 days after you start taking antibiotics for bacterial throat infection.
If your throat feels scratchy, burning, raw, dry, or if it irritates, it might be a sign of throat infection.
There is no need to take tablets for viral throat infection. And for bacterial throat infection, Amoxicillin is the preferred antibiotic.
Some of the common causes of a throat infection are cold and flu or other viruses, strep throat and other bacteria, allergies, dry air in winters, environmental irritants, injury to the throat, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and tumor of the throat.
A sore throat that lasts for more than a week is usually due to throat injury (by shouting too much), environmental irritants (cigarette smoke, chemical smoke), or allergies. It can also be due to a dry climate, mouth-breathing habit, and postnasal drip.
Throat infection that is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus is called strep throat. It is the most common bacterial throat infection.
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