| Risk Factors
Viral pharyngitis is a sore, inflamed throat.
Sore Throat Due to Inflammation
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Viral pharyngitis is may be caused by one of several viruses. It often occurs with other viral infections, such as a
Viral pharyngitis is more common in children and adolescents. Other factors that may increase your chance of viral pharyngitis include:
- Living or working in crowded places, such as daycare centers or schools
- Poor hygeine
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
Lowered immunity due to:
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 a week.
Treatments to relieve symptoms include:
Sore throat pain can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
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.
Bisno AL. Acute pharyngitis.
N Engl J Med. 2001;344(3):205-211.
Coco A, Kleinhans E. Prevalence of primary HIV infection in symptomatic ambulatory patients.
Ann Fam Med. 2005;3(5):400-404.
Frye R, Bailey J, Blevins AE. Clinical inquiries. Which treatments provide the most relief for pharyngitis pain? J Fam Pract. 2011;60(5):293-294.
Murray RC, Chennupati SK.
Chronic streptococcal and non-streptococcal pharyngitis.
Infect Discord Drug Targets. 2012;12(4):281-285.
Pharyngitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114913/Pharyngitis. Updated August 25, 2016. Accessed September 12, 2016.
Recognizing primary HIV-1 infection.
Infect Med. 1999;16(2):104-108,110.
Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
http://www.entnet.org/content/sore-throats. Accessed September 30, 2014.
The respiratory tract and its infections.
Harv Health Lett. 2010;35(4):1-4.
Last reviewed September 2016 by David Horn, MD, FACP
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
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.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services. All rights reserved.