Acute Pharyngitis

Acute pharyngitis is inflammation of the throat. It is more commonly known as a sore throat. The patient may have an elevated temperature, a cough, and pain when swallowing.

Pharyngitis is caused by a virus (viral pharyngitis) or by bacteria (bacteria pharyngitis) such as the beta-hemolytic streptococci. Patients know this as strep throat. A throat culture is taken to rule out beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection. Sometimes patients experience acute pharyngitis along with other upper respiratory tract disease such as a cold, rhinitis, or acute sinusitis.

Patients who have a viral pharyngitis are given medications that treat the symptoms rather than attacking the underlying virus. Acetaminophen or ibupro-fen is given to reduce the patient's temperature and discomfort. Saline gargles, lozenges, and increased fluid are usually helpful to soothe the sore throat.

Patients who have bacterial pharyngitis are given antibiotics to destroy the beta-hemolytic streptococci bacteria. However, antibiotics are only prescribed if the result of the throat culture is positive for bacteria. Patients are also given the same treatments for viral pharyngitis to address the symptoms of pharyngitis.

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