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[pharyng- + -itis]
Inflammation of the mucous membranes and lymphoid tissues of the pharynx, usually as a result of infection.
In the U.S., approx. 11 million are diagnosed annually with all forms of pharyngitis.
The disease typically is caused by viral or bacterial infections, including influenza virus, Streptococcus pyogenes, or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Occasionally, diphtheria or Candida albicans is responsible.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
The predominant symptom is throat pain. Fever, malaise, muscle aches, and painful swallowing are often present.
It is difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial causes of sore throat based on symptoms alone; throat swabs may be taken to rule out a bacterial cause.
Gargling with warm salty water provides topical relief. Analgesic drugs, fluids, throat lozenges, or topical anesthetics also are helpful. If clinical suspicion, rapid tests, or culture results identify streptococci, penicillin or an erythromycin is usually curative.