Viral pharyngitis is a sore, inflamed throat.
Viral pharyngitis is more common in children and adolescents. Other factors that may increase your chances 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. A sample of fluid at the back of the throat may be taken to make sure a bacterial infection, like strep, is not there.
There are no treatments to cure viral infections. Most of these infection will go away on their own within about a week.
Treatments may help to relieve symptoms until you are better. Options include:
- Over the counter pain medication—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help with discomfort
- Note: Aspirin can cause serious complications in some children with certain infections. It is best to avoid aspirin or aspirin products for children with infections.
- Gargle with warm salt water can help relieve a sore throat.
- Use throat lozenges.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Hot drinks and soups or cold fluids can be very soothing for a sore throat.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier. It can help keep your nasal passages moist and reduce congestion.
To help reduce your chance of viral pharyngitis:
- Wash your hands frequently. Do this especially after blowing your nose or after caring for a child with a sore throat.
- If someone in your home has a sore throat, keep their eating utensils and drinking glasses separate from those of other family members. Wash these objects in hot, soapy water.
- If a toddler with a sore throat has been sucking on toys, wash the toys in soap and water.
- Immediately get rid of used tissues, and then wash your hands.
- If you have hay fever or another respiratory allergy, create a plan to manage allergies. This should include avoiding allergens and taking medication before exposure.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 01/2018 -
- Update Date: 02/08/2018 -