Viral Pharyngitis Symptoms and Treatment

Viral PharyngitisOne of the most common maladies passed around amongst people is the sore throat or, viral pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat). Causing pain, irritation and extreme discomfort, it’s unlikely that anyone would intentionally share this illness with their friends and family on purpose; however the pharyngitis contagious period is lengthily, and occurs early in many cases even before the appearance of symptoms, making viral pharyngitis an easy gift of infection both to give and receive.

It’s usually abundantly evident that you have viral pharyngitis, however there are some symptoms you can keep an eye out that are early clues about your impending infection. A slight discomfort when swallowing is often experienced before the pain sets in. You may also have a fever that may be mild at onset. You may feel aches and pains in the joints and muscles as well, or notice that the lymph nodes in the neck are becoming swollen, and may be bothersome if you touch them. As viral pharyngitis reaches its peak, these early symptoms usually become more and more intense. If you have exudative pharyngitis, you will also experience pus or drainage symptoms along with the typical symptoms of this common ailment.

Treatment for a sore throat begins at its source. For instance, streptococcal pharyngitis, or more commonly known as “strep throat” is a bacterial infection. As such, it is treated with antibiotics. Strep throat is diagnosed with a throat culture to ensure that the source of infection is bacterial in nature, which is the only time that a course of antibiotics is acceptable treatment. Untreated strep throat can lead to many complications such as kidney inflammation, rheumatic fever and a tonsil infection and therefore it’s very important to see a doctor when you are not sure whether your sore throat is viral pharyngitis or bacterial pharyngitis.

In most cases, symptoms associated with viral pharyngitis are acute and last a few days with some mild discomfort following illness. However in some cases such as chronic granular pharyngitis, symptoms can be long lasting or recurring. Treatment is usually symptom based only (exception given of course to cases of strep) and typical remedies are NSAIDs and over the counter pain relievers. Additionally, lozenges and sprays that provide a cooling or numbing effect are also useful. Many of these treatments contain benzocaine and menthol. Home sore throat remedies include hot teas and salt water mouthwashes, both which can provide relief, at least temporarily.

Viral pharyngitis often calls for little more than home care; however it’s important to rule out strep if you have visible symptoms of same. Broths, soups and teas make for comfortable and soothing meals and rest and pain management via over the counter methods are typically all you need for recovery.