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What Is Pharyngitis?

People often visit their healthcare provider because of pharyngitis. But what is it exactly, and how is it treated?
Pharyngitis is the medical term for a sore throat. The two most common reasons for pharyngitis are an infection with either a virus (the most common) or bacteria. Strep throat is the most common bacterial cause of pharyngitis.
The most common viruses to cause pharyngitis are the same ones that cause upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold or flu.
In most cases, pharyngitis is contagious, as a majority of sore throats are caused by germs. The transmission of this throat infection normally occurs through direct contact with infected substances (mucus, nasal discharge, saliva) or by touching shared items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infected fluids.
If the cause of pharyngitis is due to a bacterial infection, a healthcare provider can prescribe antibiotics. For viral infections, the only cure is time, as the body will typically heal itself within two to five days.
(Click Pharyngitis for more information on what pharyngitis is, what causes it, and how it is treated. This article also explains when to seek medical attention.)
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