What is viral pharyngitis?
Viral pharyngitis is inflammation of the pharynx (the part of the throat between the tonsils and the larynx).
How common is viral pharyngitis?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of viral pharyngitis?
The common symptoms of viral pharyngitis are:
- Discomfort when swallowing
- Joint pain or muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes viral pharyngitis?
Pharyngitis may occur as part of a viral infection that also involves other organs, such as the lungs or bowel. Most sore throats are caused by viruses.
What increases my risk for viral pharyngitis?
There are many risk factors for viral pharyngitis, such as:
- Age: children
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Living or working in close quarters such as:
- Military forces
- Lowered immunity due to:
- Excess fatigue
- Poor eating habits
- Poor hygiene
- Recent illness
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is viral pharyngitis diagnosed?
Your health care provider usually diagnoses pharyngitis by examining your throat. A lab test of fluid from your throat will show that bacteria (such as group A Streptococcus, or strep) is not the cause of your sore throat.
How is viral pharyngitis treated?
There is no specific treatment for viral pharyngitis. You can relieve symptoms by gargling with warm salt water several times a day (use one half teaspoon or 3 grams of salt in a glass of warm water).
Taking anti-inflammatory medicine, such as acetaminophen, can control fever. Excessive use of anti-inflammatory lozenges or sprays may make a sore throat worse.
It is important NOT to take antibiotics when a sore throat is due to a viral infection. The antibiotics will not help. Using them to treat viral infections helps bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.
With some sore throats (such as those caused by infectious mononucleosis), the lymph nodes in the neck may become very swollen. Your provider may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as prednisone, to treat them.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage viral pharyngitis?
Most cases are not preventable, because the viruses and bacteria that causes sore throats are commonly found in the environment. However, always wash your hands after contact with a person who has a sore throat. Avoid kissing or sharing cups and eating utensils with sick individuals.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: October 18, 2017 | Last Modified: December 13, 2019
Viral pharyngitis. http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/pain/related_conditions/viral_pharyngitis.aspx. Accessed October 18, 2017
Viral pharyngitis. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001392.htm. Accessed October 18, 2017
Viral pharyngitis. http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/pharyngitis-viral/overview.html. Accessed October 18, 2017