Pharyngitis is inflammation of the throat or pharynx. This condition, which is also called laryngitis, is characterized by throat pain, itching, and pain when swallowing.

Pharyngitis is generally caused by a viral infection. Some types of viruses that can cause pharyngitis are  Influenza , Rhinovirus , and Epstein-Barr . Although more often caused by viral infections,  Streptococcus bacterial infections  can also cause pharyngitis.

Viruses and bacteria that cause pharyngitis are very easily spread through the air, for example through splashes of saliva from the patient's cough that is inhaled. Although pharyngitis is generally a harmless condition and can be cured in a few days, treatment still needs to be done to alleviate the symptoms that arise.

Sore throats are also often experienced by sufferers of COVID-19. Therefore, if you suffer from anosmia and need a COVID-19 examination, click the link below so that you can be directed to the nearest health facility:

  • Rapid Antibody Test
  • Antigen Swab (Rapid Antigen Test)
  • PCR

Causes of Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis or sore throat is most often caused by a viral infection. The types of viruses that cause pharyngitis can be diverse, but generally come from the Influenza , Adenovirus , Rhinovirus , Coronavirus , and Epstein -Barr viruses.

Pharyngitis can also be caused by the spread of infection from other diseases, such as colds , flu, pertussis,  measles , smallpox, and mononucleosis.

In some cases, pharyngitis can also be caused by a bacterial infection. These bacteria usually come from the  Streptococcus A group . Although rare, other bacteria such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae , Chlamydia trachomatis , and  Corynebacterium diphtheriae , can also cause pharyngitis.

In addition to viruses and bacteria, in rare conditions, Candida fungal infection can also cause pharyngitis.

Pharyngitis risk factors

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing pharyngitis, among others:

  • Aged 3–15 years
  • Often exposed to cigarette smoke or pollution
  • Have a history of allergies, such as cold allergies, dust allergies, or animal dander
  • Have a history  of sinusitis
  • Often in a dry room, such as an air-conditioned room
  • Having a history of contact with pharyngitis sufferers, for example living with laryngitis sufferers or working in a hospital
  • Have a weak immune system
  • Suffering from GERD ( gastroesophageal reflux disease ) or  stomach acid disease
  • Often doing activities that cause tension in the throat muscles, for example because talking or shouting too loudly

Symptoms of Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis usually only causes symptoms around 2-5 days after the patient is infected. Some of the symptoms that can arise in pharyngitis sufferers include:

  • Sore or  sore throat
  • Itchy throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • sciatica
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen glands in the neck

In addition, other symptoms that can arise are hoarse voice and cough. If the infection spreads to the tonsils or tonsils, inflammation and swelling of the tonsils can occur.

When should you go to the doctor?

Check yourself with  a doctor  if you experience the symptoms of pharyngitis that have been mentioned above, especially if they do not improve in 1 week or are accompanied by symptoms of difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, rashes on the skin, and difficulty opening the mouth.

People who have a history of sinusitis, allergies, or stomach acid disease, are more at risk of experiencing pharyngitis. Therefore, if you suffer from one of these diseases, do a routine checkup with a doctor to monitor your health condition and prevent pharyngitis.

Diagnosis of Pharyngitis

To diagnose pharyngitis, the doctor will ask questions and answers about the patient's complaints and symptoms, as well as review the patient's health history.

Next, the doctor will perform a comprehensive physical examination, including examining the patient's ears, nose, mouth, and throat. Examination of the throat aims to see swelling and redness in the throat.

If necessary, the doctor will ask the patient to do a series of supporting examinations to ascertain the cause of the infection. These supporting examinations include:

  • Throat swab and bacterial culture Throat
    swab is performed by taking a sample from the throat. Next, the doctor will perform a culture to detect the presence of bacteria in the sample.
  • Blood
    test Blood test  aims to detect the presence of infection by examining the patient's blood sample.

Treatment of Pharyngitis

Treatment of pharyngitis aims to relieve complaints and symptoms, overcome the infection that causes pharyngitis, and prevent complications. The two steps of treatment that can be done are self-treatment and the administration of drugs. Here is the explanation:

Independent handling

Self-handling steps that can be done to overcome pharyngitis are:

  • Rest enough until the condition feels better
  • Don't talk too much, especially when your voice is hoarse
  • Drink  plenty of water  to avoid dehydration
  • Use a humidifier if the air in the room feels dry
  • Consuming foods that are comfortable in the throat, such as warm soup broth
  • Gargle with  warm salt water  to relieve a sore throat
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and pollution

Giving medicines

If self-treatment of pharyngitis does not improve the condition within a maximum period of 7 days, the sufferer needs to see a doctor. The doctor may prescribe several types of medicine, such as:

  • Antibiotics
    Antibiotics are given in pharyngitis caused by bacterial infection. The type of antibiotics chosen for strep throat is usually penicillin, amoxicillin, cefaclor , clindamycin,   clarithromycin , or erythromycin .
  • Benzocaine
    Benzocaine is given to overcome sore throat and difficulty swallowing which often occurs in pharyngitis. This ingredient is often found in mouthwash  or throat lozenges .
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen
    Paracetamol and  ibuprofen  are antipyretics and pain relievers. Medicines are given to relieve pain and reduce fever, which can occur during pharyngitis.

It is important to remember, always follow the recommendations and rules for the use of the medicine according to the doctor, and do not stop the use of the medicine without first consulting the doctor.

Treatment in the hospital by giving the patient intravenous fluid can also be an option for treating pharyngitis when the patient has difficulty swallowing so there is a potential lack of nutrition.

Complications of Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis generally does not cause complications. However, if this condition continues to be left untreated, the infection can spread and cause a number of complications, such as:

  • Ear infection
  • Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis)
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Accumulation of pus (abscess) in the throat
  • Glomerulonephritis

Prevention of Pharyngitis

Prevention of pharyngitis is done by avoiding its causes and triggers. This can be achieved by adopting a clean and healthy lifestyle, such as:

  • Diligently  wash your hands  with soap and running water, especially before and after eating, after going to the toilet, and after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching the facial area with unhygienic hands.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with your hand or a tissue when coughing.
  • Do not share eating and drinking utensils or bathing utensils with pharyngitis sufferers.
  • Stop smoking .
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and pollution.
  • Wash the toys of children who suffer from pharyngitis clean, especially the toys that children usually put in their mouths.
  • Avoid traveling to school or office during illness to prevent transmission.
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