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General Practice 2023

Viral pharyngitis: main symptoms, causes and treatment

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Viral pharyngitis: main symptoms, causes and treatment
Viral pharyngitis: main symptoms, causes and treatment

Viral pharyngitis is an inflammation of the pharynx that is caused by the presence of a virus, so it is very common for pharyngitis to appear together with the flu or another infection of the respiratory system. However, viral pharyngitis can also appear in isolation, affecting only the pharynx.

Viral pharyngitis is a contagious condition that can be transmitted easily from person to person through breathing in small airborne droplets that contain the virus, contact with contaminated surfaces, and through consumption of food and drinks that may also be contaminated.

Viral pharyngitis symptoms

The main symptoms related to viral pharyngitis are discomfort and difficulty in swallowing. Some other symptoms may vary depending on the virus related to the infection, however, in general, other symptoms that may appear are:

  • Sore throat;
  • Fever;
  • Constant headache;
  • Muscle or joint pain;
  • Dry cough and runny nose.

Often, pharyngitis is associated with another he alth problem and, therefore, inflammation of the pharynx is not even identified, and only treatment is given for the main problem, which can be flu or mononucleosis.

However, whenever 2 or more of the symptoms mentioned above appear and others, such as red spots on the skin and painful bumps on the neck, it is therefore very important to go to the doctor to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment most appropriate. See more about pharyngitis.

Main causes

Viral pharyngitis is the most common form of pharyngitis and is usually due to colds and flu. Therefore, the main viruses related to viral pharyngitis are Rhinovirus, Coronavirus, Parainfluenza and Influenza, the latter being related to the flu.In addition, it is possible that the flu also happens due to infection by the Adenovirus, which is usually related to conjunctivitis.

It is also possible that viral pharyngitis is due to the Epstein-Barr virus, which is responsible for mononucleosis, and can be transmitted through saliva, known as kissing disease.

How the diagnosis is made

Since viral pharyngitis is usually associated with another infection, it is common for only the main infection to be identified. However, as there is no specific treatment for viral pharyngitis, treatment for the main infection is usually sufficient to treat pharyngitis.

In any case, in order to make the diagnosis, the family doctor or the otolaryngologist must perform a physical examination and evaluate the symptoms presented. In addition, tests may also be done to identify if there are bacteria in the throat that could be causing an infection.If this happens, treatment may need to include the use of an antibiotic.

Treatment for viral pharyngitis

Viral pharyngitis symptoms usually last a few days and the body is able to spontaneously eliminate the virus within 1 week. However, it is necessary for the person to have a he althy diet, drink plenty of fluids and rest, so that the resolution of viral pharyngitis happens more quickly.

Your family doctor or otolaryngologist may recommend the use of anti-inflammatory and pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to reduce the signs and symptoms of sore throat. It is important that these drugs are used according to the doctor's advice.

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