(Viral Sore Throat)
Viral pharyngitis is a sore, inflamed throat.
Sore Throat Due to Inflammation
Viral pharyngitis is more common in children and adolescents. Other factors that may increase your chance of viral pharyngitis include:
Viral pharyngitis may cause:
- Sore, red, swollen throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Throat ulcerations
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears
- Decreased appetite
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Most viral sore throats are diagnosed based on the symptoms and an examination of the throat. Sometimes, the throat will be swabbed to make sure that the sore throat isn't due to a bacterial strep infection.
There are no treatments to cure viral pharyngitis. Most cases of viral pharyngitis heal on their own within about 1 week.
Treatments to relieve symptoms include:
Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
Sore throat pain can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
You can relieve symptoms by:
- Gargling with warm salt water can help relieve a sore throat.
- Using throat lozenges.
- Drinking plenty of fluids. Hot drinks and soups or cold fluids can be very soothing for a sore throat.
- Using running a cool-mist humidifier. It can help keep your nasal passages moist and reduce congestion.
To help reduce your chance of viral pharyngitis:
- Practice good hygiene, including careful hand washing.
- Don't share food or beverages with other people.
- Avoid areas where people are smoking.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
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Last reviewed September 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.