DESCRIPTIONPharyngitis is throat inflammation and infection from a variety of germs. The throat area, including the tonsils, is involved. Pharyngitis can affect both sexes, all ages, except during infancy.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Hospitalization if the pharyngitis is caused by diphtheria or the hemophilus bacteria.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSore throat.
Tickle or "lump" in the child's throat.
Swollen glands in the child's neck (sometimes).
Throat may be red or covered with a grayish membrane (sometimes).
CAUSESBacteria--streptococci, diphtheria, gonococci, hemophilus, pneumococci, or staphylococci.
Viruses--Epstein-Barr and many types of respiratory viruses.
Infection from bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Following are the most common germs.
RISK FACTORSIllness that has lowered resistance.
Fatigue or overwork.
Excess alcohol consumption.
Epidemics, during which all persons are at increased risk.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Urge your child to avoid contact with anyone with a sore throat.
Keep your child's immunizations, including diphtheria, up to date. An immunization schedule appears in Appendix 1.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory throat culture and blood count.
Epiglottitis, leading to complete breathing obstruction.
Rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, or glomerulonephritis, if the child's pharyngitis is caused by strep bacteria and does not receive adequate antibiotic treatment.
Spontaneous recovery for most cases of viral pharyngitis. Other cases are curable with antibiotic or anti-fungal drugs.
Use gargles to relieve your child's throat pain. Prepare double-strength tea, hot or cold, or a salt-water solution (1 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces warm water). Use to gargle as often as your child wishes.
Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase the air moisture around the child. This will relieve the dry, tight feeling in the child's throat.
To reduce a high fever, or for fever in a child who has had a convulsion, See Appendix 17, How to Reduce Your Child's Fever.
If the child's glands are large and tender, apply moist, warm soaks at least 4 times a day for 30 to 60 minutes. The compresses will be more effective if they are kept warm. Be careful not to burn the child's skin.
MEDICATIONFor minor discomfort, use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen. Don't give aspirin to a child for any viral illness. Studies link its use with the development of Reye's syndrome, a form of encephalitis.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or anti-fungal agents to fight bacterial or fungal infections.
Bed rest is necessary for your child until symptoms disappear. Reading or watching TV is acceptable.
DIET & FLUIDS
Extra fluids are necessary -- at least 8 glasses of water daily, more for high fevers. If swallowing solid food is painful for your child, a liquid diet may be necessary.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of pharyngitis.
The following occurs during treatment: breathing or swallowing difficulty; fever (oral) over 102F (38.9C); severe headache; thick mucous drainage from the nose; cough that produces green, yellow, brown or bloody sputum; skin rash.