What Is Viral Pharyngitis?
Viral pharyngitis is the name given to inflammation of pharynx. Pharynx is a part of throat lying in the middle of tonsils and larynx. It is the most common cause of throat pain or in other words sore throat. It can also occur due to viral infections involving other organs like lungs or the gastrointestinal system like bowels.
Types Of Viruses Responsible For Viral Pharyngitis
Given Below Are Some Of The Viruses That Can Cause Viral Pharyngitis And Resultant Throat Pain:
- Rhinovirus: There are greater than 100 serotypes of this virus responsible for causing approximately 25% of cases of viral pharyngitis and about half of the cases of common colds. This virus generally infiltrates the body through ciliated epithelium which lines the nose resulting in edema of nasal mucous membranes. This condition results in increased secretory activity of mucous glands, swelling of mucous membranes and pharynx, and narrowing of nasal passages.
- Adenovirus: Mostly found in children, it causes uncomplicated pharyngitis or pharyngoconjunctival fever.
- Epstein Barr Virus: Epstein Barr Virus is the main causative factor of Infectious Mononucleosis. This virus generally transmits from adults to infants. Among adolescents, this virus transmits through saliva and in rare instances through blood transfusion. This virus results in edema and hyperemia of tonsils and pharyngeal mucosa resulting in throat pain. Pharyngitis is said to be present in approximately 90% of people infected with Infectious Mononucleosis.
- Herpes Simplex Virus: This virus is also responsible for causing pharyngitis with resultant sore throat or throat pain.
Symptoms for Throat Pain Due To Viral Pharyngitis
The Following Are The Symptoms Of An Impending Viral Pharyngitis:
- Difficulty with swallowing.
- Joint aches or aching of muscle.
- Throat pain.
- Swelling of lymph nodes present in neck.
Investigations For Throat Pain Due To Viral Pharyngitis
Generally, a diagnosis is made by the physician by careful examination of throat. Throat culture can be taken to rule out bacterial related conditions resulting in sore throat or throat pain.
How Can I Prevent Contracting Viral Pharyngitis Resulting In Throat Pain?
Generally, we cannot avoid getting in contact with these types of bacteria and viruses which cause throat pain or sore throat as they are commonly found in the surroundings around us. However, what we can do and is within our reach is to wash our hands after coming in contact with a person suffering from throat infection. Also, what one can do is to avoid sharing things of the infected person such as towels, utensils, cups etc.
Treatment For Throat Pain Due To Viral Pharyngitis
- There is no clear cut treatment to treat viral pharyngitis. The symptoms can be relieved to an extent by doing salt water gargles to help with throat pain multiple times in a day. One can also use NSAIDs like acetaminophen for fever control but care needs to be taken as excess use of medications may make symptoms worse. It is imperative that one avoids antibiotics in case of viral pharyngitis as antibiotics do not help viral infections. In fact, it makes bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.
- In certain cases of sore throat like Infectious Mononucleosis, the lymph nodes present in neck get swollen and this may be treated with drugs like prednisone.
What Is The Prognosis And Possible Complications Of Viral Pharyngitis Related Throat Pain?
The prognosis is usually good and the symptoms go away with a week to fortnight. There are no possible complications related to viral pharyngitis and resulting throat pain.
When Should I Seek Professional Medical Advice?
One needs to take a medical professional’s advice in case the throat pain does not resolve by itself or the remedies suggested above in about a fortnight. Medical advice is also required in cases where one has severe difficulties with swallowing or has breathing problems due to throat pain.