Pharyngitis

From Academic Kids

Pharyngitis is a painful inflammation of the pharynx, and is colloquially referred to as a sore throat. Infection of the tonsils, tonsillitis (American English: tonsilitis) may occur simultaneously.

The major cause is infection, of which 90% are viral, the remainder caused by bacterial infection. Some cases of pharyngitis are caused by irritation from agents such as pollutants, chemicals, or smoke.

Treatment of pharyngitis will vary according to the cause. Lozenges are often used for short-term pain relief. Antibiotics are only helpful when a bacterial infection is the cause of the sore throat. For bacterial sore throats, antibiotics have been shown to affect the degree of pain by day 5 and shorten the average natural duration from 7 to 6 days.

Antibiotics also decrease the number and severity of the complications of streptococcal (bacterial) pharyngitis, specifically post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (an inflammation of the kidney) or rheumatic fever. The incidence of rheumatic fever, dramatically decreased by the use of antibiotics when they were first introduced, seems not to increase as antibiotic use drops off. This may be a result of a change in the prevalence of various strains of bacteria. In underdeveloped regions, untreated streptococcal infection can still give rise to rheumatic heart disease. This may be due to environmental factors, or reflect a genetic predisposition of the patient to the disease.

A popular household remedy is gargling with warm salty water. Also, warm tea can help temporarily alleviate the pain of a sore throat.

George Washington died of this.

References

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