After a few days of battling what seemed to be a cold virus with over-the-counter cold remedies, my daughter-in-law’s cold virus symptoms had improved, except for one. Her sore throat remained and intensified. The acute sore throat pain prompted her to seek medical attention at 4:30am at a nearby emergency room, the diagnosis was pharyngitis.
Pharyngitis occurs when the pharynx in the throat becomes severely irritated and inflamed. The pharynx is located directly behind the mouth and nasal cavity. All food and air pass through the pharynx, making the pharynx the prime target for viral or bacterial infections.
The symptoms of pharyngitis usually closely resemble the symptoms of the flu or cold virus. Pharyngitis symptoms include acute sore throat pain, fever, headache, runny nose, sinus drainage, difficulty swallowing and swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms can occur in pharyngitis, depending upon whether the pharyngitis is viral or bacterial.
Breathing in air that contains microorganisms or touching something containing flu or cold virus germs, then touching your mouth or nose can lead to pharyngitis. Mononucleosis can also cause the acute sore throat pain of pharyngitis along with several other viral infections.
Pharyngitis can also be caused by chemicals or pollutants that are ingested or inhaled. Smoking, alcohol consumption, even mouthwash that contains alcohol can cause pharyngitis. Candida, a yeast infection in the mouth that is also called thrush, or strepthroat can bring on the acute sore throat pain of pharyngitis.
Pharyngitis is often diagnosed in layman’s terms as simply being a sore throat, but pharyngitis is acute sore throat pain. Antibiotics, pain medication, throat numbing spray and bed rest are the usual course of action to treat the acute sore throat pain of pharyngitis. Also removing whatever external irritant that has inflamed the pharynx and a warm salt-water gargle will help promote the healing of the inflamed pharynx and stop the sore throat pain.
In my daughter-in-law’s case of pharyngitis, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the pharyngitis. Working as a cashier in a restaurant puts her in an environment of possible pharynx irritating cooking odors combined with the sometimes throat irritating, eye-watering scents that perfumes and aftershaves can create in an enclosed environment. Coming face-to-face with each restaurant patron and handling money is certainly another possible source of exposure to cold virus germs, bacteria and other possible maladies that could bring on a bout of pharyngitis.
Acute sore throat pain that lasts for more than a few days may indicate something more serious than pharyngitis, and should be checked out by a physician.