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Pharyngitis / Tonsillitis

What is pharyngitis and tonsillitis?

Pharyngitis and tonsillitis are infections in the throat that cause inflammation. If the tonsils are primarily affected, it is called tonsillitis. If the throat is primarily affected, it is called pharyngitis. A person might even have inflammation and infection of both the tonsils and the throat. This would be called pharyngotonsillitis. These infections are spread by close contact with other individuals. The majority of pharyngitis cases occur during the winter or colder months.

What causes pharyngitis and tonsillitis?

There are many causes of infections in the throat. The following are the most common:

viruses – this infection is the most common in all age groups, and may include:

  • Adenovirus
  • Influenza virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • bacteria
  • Group A Beta Hemolytic Streptococci (GABHS)
  • Neisseria Gonorrhea
  • Hemophilus Influenza Type B
  • Mycoplasma
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • fungal infections
  • parasitic infections
  • cigarette smoke
  • other causes
Treatment for pharyngitis and tonsillitis:

Specific treatment for pharyngitis and tonsillitis will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • cause of the condition
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

If bacteria is not the cause of the infection, then the treatment is usually directed more for comfort. Antibiotics will not help treat viral sore throats.