When the pharynx is inflamed, it is referred to as a sore throat or Pharyngitis. This condition is a common occurrence when there is any viral upper respiratory infection. In severe cases, Pharyngitis can also be indicative of diphtheria, gonorrhea or HIV. Pharyngitis is usually caused by micro organisms such as Streptococcus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae cause bacterial pharyngitis. This condition is contagious and is usually noticed in the winter months. Allergies, exposure to smoke and pollutants can cause sore throat and pharyngitis due to postnasal drip. If left untreated, pharyngitis can lead to rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, tonsillitis or pneumonia.
A person suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection such as pharyngitis will have sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. Accompanying fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes in the neck will also be noticed. Other symptoms of pharyngitis include cough, swollen tonsils and post nasal drip. There may be headache and earache. A physician will check the patient's eyes, throat and lymph nodes in the neck. A throat swab culture is done to diagnose the cause of infection. Bacterial infection or strep throat is treated with suitable antibiotics.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are probably one of the most common infections that affect children and adults alike. While the common cold - Nasopharyngitis is usually self-limiting, other respiratory infections such as pharyngitis, sinusitis, epiglottitis and laryngotracheitis (inflammation of the trachea and larynx) must be promptly treated. The common cold is a mild and self-limiting condition that affects children often in their early years. Thereafter the incidence decreases.
Common Cold : Most upper respiratory infections (URI) are viral. There are nearly 200 types of virus that cause the common cold. You are more likely to contract an upper respiratory infection when you are tired and physically or emotionally fatigued. Working and living in crowds and lack of balanced nutrition make you more susceptible to URIs. The common cold is very contagious. It is not surprising to note an entire class being affected by it as soon as a child gets affected by a new strain of virus. Spread of virus occurs while sneezing or touching the eyes or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus. A person suffering from a cold - Nasopharyngitis, is most contagious during the first 3 days. Typical symptoms of URI are runny nose, sore throat and water eyes. The ears may be congested and the person may run mild fever. The first 2 days of a cold are marked by repeated sneezing and watery nasal discharge. This secretion becomes thicker in a couple of days. You might experience postnasal drip, low-grade fever, headache, burning eyes and muscle aches depending on the kind of virus you have picked up.
Most of the time, common colds are treated with over-the-counter medications. Resting well and drinking plenty of fluids can help you feel better. Hot chicken soup can do wonders to relieve stuffy nose and other symptoms. Gargling with warm salt water works well for a sore throat. Mild antihistamines can be used for runny nose. Expectorants can help in drainage of mucus. Acetaminophen or mild pain relievers can be used in case of sore throat and headache. Vitamin C supplements can also help. Inhaling steam can temporarily relieve symptoms of congestion.
Fungal Throat Infection is also referred to as oral thrush. It is an infection caused by the yeast fungus Candida albicans. In most people, the presence of Candida in the oral cavity is not uncommon. It is only when there is a change that favors the growth of candida that a fungal throat infection develops. Conditions such as diabetes, AIDS and malnutrition can trigger this change.
Persons suffering from oral thrush will notice whitish spots in the mouth. There may be burning or bleeding. It can lead to fungal infection of the throat and consequently nausea and difficulty in swallowing. A throat culture helps in identifying the micro organisms that cause the infection in the throat. It could reveal epiglottis, strep throat, pharyngitis or diphtheria. Anti fungal drugs such as nystatin, amphotericin or miconazole are used to treat oral thrush.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 24, 2019