Health Care and Pharyngitis

- April 16, 2019
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Have you ever had Pharyngitis? Then you’ve had a sore throat, which often entails more than just a “sore” throat. It may include throat itchiness, scratchiness, difficulty swallowing, or just general pain in the throat. The reason you experience this discomfort is because of swelling in the pharynx, which is the back of the throat, and the larynx, which is your voice box.

Typically, according to Medspring Urgent Care, a sore throat is caused by one of these culprits:
·         One of many cold viruses.
·         Flu.
·         Mono.
·         Coxsackie virus.

Unless your pharyngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, like strep throat, pharyngitis is a viral infection and is not treated with antibiotics. Seeking medical attention depends on the severity of your symptoms and risk factors; the more discomfort you are experiencing, the wiser it is to promptly pay your doctor a visit. For more details, visit this website: https://medspring.com/treatments/pharyngitis-sore-throat.

According to the American Family Physician, pharyngitis is one of the most common conditions encountered by the family physician. The optimal approach for differentiating among various causes of pharyngitis requires a problem-focused history, a physical examination, and appropriate laboratory testing. Identifying the cause of pharyngitis, especially group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS), is important to prevent potential life-threatening complications. More detailed information about testing for pharyngitis is located at this website: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0315/p1465.html.

In the majority of cases, pharyngitis will disappear within a week, though can last longer. Treatment will usually focus on managing the symptoms, according to Ada Health. However, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the bacterial form of the condition. Generally, it is a non-serious condition, though in some instances it can cause severe symptoms or a serious infection.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viral pharyngitis, though, they may be prescribed for those with a bacterial infection. Doctors are often reluctant to prescribe antibiotics for bacterial pharyngitis due to the fact that they are not always effective and may cause side-effects. To decide if an individual should be prescribed antibiotics, doctors will sometimes use a test known as the Centor score. Physicians will look for:

·         Pus on the tonsils.
·         Painful or tender glands on the neck.
·         The absence of a cough.
·         Fever.

If three or more of these features are present, a doctor will often prescribe a delayed prescription, whereby antibiotics will be prescribed for two or three days in the future, to be used if symptoms have not disappeared or have gotten worse. You can find much more information about symptoms and treatment at this site: https://ada.com/conditions/acute-pharyngitis/.

According to Infectious Disease Advisor, there is no single vaccine that prevents pharyngitis, since it can be caused by many different bacteria and viruses. Influenza vaccine may prevent some community causes of pharyngitis. Prophylactic drug treatment is not recommended.

Avoidance of direct contact with infected patients is key to preventing pharyngitis. For a very clinical overview, read this material. However, consult a physician since this website is primarily for medical professionals:  https://www.infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com/home/decision-support-in-medicine/infectious-diseases/pharyngitis/ .

Additionally, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, pharyngitis and tonsillitis are infections that cause inflammation. If the tonsils are affected, it is called tonsillitis. If the throat is affected, it is called pharyngitis. If you have both, it’s called pharyngotonsillitis. These infections are spread by close contact with others. Most cases happen during the winter or colder months.

Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
  • How old you are
  • His or her overall health and medical history
  • How sick you are
  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference
Most cases of pharyngitis and tonsillitis will run their course without any complications. But, if the disease is caused by strep, rare complications, including rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, and kidney disease can happen. Treatment with antibiotics can prevent these complications. If a sore throat is severe and includes trouble swallowing, drooling, or neck swelling, see a healthcare provider right away. More details are available at this site: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/pharyngitis-and-tonsillitis.

Sore throats are usually a nuisance, and they make you feel under the weather as long as you have one. However, in some cases, you should visit a medical practitioner if the symptoms seem out of the ordinary or last longer than normal. If your immune system is compromised, or your age or other underlying health factors are problematic, then go to your doctor to make sure you don’t have other issues beyond pharyngitis.

Until next time.

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