Throat infections are common among children and adults. They are transferred through saliva. There are two types of pharyngitis – bacterial and viral. Bacterial infections are generally caused by the streptococcus bacteria. It is more common after age three and generally does not affect children under a year. Viral infections are caused by the infiltration and reproduction of microorganisms in the nucleus of the cell. The bacteria or virus invade the body through transferred saliva droplets (through a kiss, sneeze, cough etc.). The virus or bacteria latches onto the cells in the lining of the throat or tonsils and reproduce. This process stimulates the body’s immune system and white blood cells attacks the foreign bodies – creating an inflammation characterized by redness, swelling, pain, and local or general fever. The higher body temperature reinforces the body’s defensive mechanism; shivering accompanying the fever creates more heat and the sweating is the body’s way of getting rid of excess heat. Children usually have higher fevers than adults.

It’s hard to differentiate between a viral and bacterial pharyngitis. The symptoms are very similar. To do so, the doctor will perform a number of tests. The doctor will look into your child’s throat, looking for white spots or other indicators of an inflammation. During this examination, the doctor will put a Popsicle stick on your child’s throat to keep it lower and enable a better view of the throat. A throat culture is a test to check for streptococcus. The doctor will rub a small, sterile swab on the back of your child’s throat. The swab will be sent to the lab to test for the presence of streptococcus.

Bacterial Pharyngitis
Symptoms: pain in the throat (especially when swallowing), headaches, rashes, high fever, swelling in the lymph nodes, redness in the throat and a positive throat culture.

Ten percent of pharyngitis cases are bacterial, caused by bacteria from the streptococcal family. The strains are divided into four groups: A, B, C and D. The most common, and also most dangerous, is the ‘strep A’ group. These bacteria can induce rheumatic fever, an autoimmune disease that attacks the tissue in the body. When the streptococcal bacteria attack the heat membrane, they cause an inflammation of the heart valves which can lead to an inflammation of the heart membrane, which can be life-threatening.

Ten to twenty-five percent of the population is carriers for strep A. A carrier won’t necessarily suffer from repeat infections, but he can infect people around him.

Complications from Bacterial Pharyngitis
Complications can be local such as abscess surrounding the tonsils, which requires hospitalization or systemic, such as rheumatic fever.

Viral Pharyngitis
Viral pharyngitis symptoms include throat pain and difficulty swallowing, runny nose, hoarseness, headaches, redness in the throat, swelling in the lymph nodes and fever. Ninety percent of pharyngitis cases are viral the viruses change and are different every year. Some viruses indicate mononucleosis. The symptoms are relatively mild and do not require any special treatment.

Pharyngitis Treatment

  • Rest
  • Special diet of no more than 1,000 calories a day, limiting sugar intake and drinking more tea and clear fluids
  • Pain relievers (advil or acamol) and throat lozenges
  • Antibiotic treatment (ineffective for viral pharyngitis); recommended time: 10 days – you will usually see improvement after the first day