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Acute Pharyngitis – Causes of Acute Pharyngitis, Treatments

Pharyngitis is an inflammation of pharynx or throat. In many cases, this is painful and initial infection extends for long duration. Often this is caused by sore throat. Pharyngitis can be acute too. It is characterized by rapid onset and chronic or relatively short course. Pharyngitis results in large tonsils that cause trouble while breathing and swallowing. This accompanies with fever or cough, for example, if caused by upper respiratory tract infections.

About, 40 – 80% of acute pharyngitis is caused by viral infections and other causes include fungal, bacterial and other irritants like chemical substances or pollutants. Pharyngitis caused by viruses are symptomatic, while fungal or bacterial causes can be treated with anti fungals and antibiotics.

Causes of Acute Pharyngitis:

Pharynx is the common site of infection. Viruses and bacteria settle in this place after a person is exposed directly to the agent. Water vapour that contains microorganisms and inhaling dust are the examples of direct contact.

  1. Acute Viral Pharyngitis:

    Nearly 40 – 80% of pharyngitis are caused by viruses. Following are some viruses responsible for acute viral pharyngitis.

    • Orthomyxoviridae
    • Adenovirus
    • Infectious mononucleosis
    • Measles
    • Herpes Simplex virus
    • Respiratory syncytial virus
    • Rhinovirus
    • Parainfluenza virus
    • Coronavirus
    • Primary HIV
  2. Acute Bacterial Pharyngitis:

    Various bacteria affect human throat. Group A streptococcus is the most common. Other bacteria include:

    • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
    • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
    • Corynebacterium diphtheriae
    • Chlamydophila pneumoniae

Fungal infections like Candid albicans cause oral thrush.

Treatments for Acute Pharyngitis:

Most treatments are given to reduce the symptoms. Certain treatments are effective for fungal, herpes simplex virus and bacterial infections.

  • Steroids like dexamethasone are useful for treating severe pharyngitis.
  • Analgesics like acetaminophen and NSAIDs reduce the sore throat pain.
  • Antibiotics are useful for treating bacterial infections. These are not effective for viral infections.
  • Viscous lidocaine numbs mucous membranes of throat and gives relief from pain.

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