Health Guide
Drug Guide

Sore throat

What is it?

Pharyngitis (fair-in-JI-tis) is an infection (in-FECK-shun) of the pharynx (FAIR-inks) that is commonly called "sore throat." The pharynx is the area between the tonsils and the larynx (LAIR-inks). The larynx is also called the voice box. This whole area is called the throat. Pharyngitis may be the first sign that you have an illness, like a cold or the flu.


Pharyngitis is caused by a bacteria (bak-TEER-e-uh), a virus, or a fungus. It is spread from an infected person to others by coughing, sneezing, touching, or sharing food and drinks. It is easily spread in schools, daycare centers, work, and at home. You may be at higher risk of getting pharyngitis if you smoke, are very tired (run down), or have been in cold, wet weather.

Signs and Symptoms:

The following are signs and symptoms that you may have when you have pharyngitis:

Wellness Recommendations:

Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or share food or drinks with anyone. If you have frequent sore throats, decrease the stress in your life. Stress may increase the risk of infection.

Medical Care:

Your caregiver will look at your throat and may rub a cotton swab against the back of your throat. This is called a throat culture. A throat culture may help your caregiver learn which germ is causing the sore throat. You may also need to have blood drawn to check for germs in your blood.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.



Other ways of treating your symptoms:

Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:


Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


1. Cohen S, Doyle WJ & Skoner DP: Psychological stress, cytokine production, and severity of upper respiratory illness. Psychosom Med 1999; 61(2):175-180.

2. Sanchez A, Reeser JL, Lau HS et al: Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J Clin Nutr 1973; 26:1180-1184.

Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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