Simple Guide To Treating Viral Pharyngitis

Viral pharyngitis is an inflammation that can occur along the back of the throat in the pharynx. In most situations, cases of viral pharyngitis are minor and will go away with the use of simple treatments. Some of the other symptoms patients experience due to viral pharyngitis include difficulties swallowing and a general scratchiness in the throat. Cases of viral pharyngitis are most common during the colder months of the year. 

While it's possible for pharyngitis to occur due to a bacterial infection, the most common cause is a viral infection. Some of the more common causes include influenza, the common cold, and mononucleosis. Unlike bacterial infections, the source of the viral infection doesn't actually react to the usage of antibiotics. However, medications can help relieve symptoms.

Drink Lots Of Clear Fluids


When suffering from viral pharyngitis, it's important for patients to drink lots of clear fluids to stave off dehydration and keep their condition from worsening. A sore throat can also make it very difficult to swallow, which is particularly true when a patient's mouth is dry from not getting enough fluids. A variety of factors can cause an individual's mouth and throat to become dry, which include taking cold medicine and having a fever. 

If individuals are affected by a cold alongside viral pharyngitis, not drinking enough fluids will likely cause them to feel sicker and weaker, both of which can be avoided by always having a beverage on hand while recovering. When looking for the right clear fluids to drink, patients should focus on water, soup, or juice, which will help soothe their sore throat and get rid of mucus buildup. Patients will want to avoid coffee, alcohol, and caffeine while recovering, as these beverages are known to actually cause more liquids to leave their body than are brought in.

Gargle With Salt Water


When viral pharyngitis has caused a patient's throat to feel rough and coarse, one easy treatment method is to gargle with saltwater. This means they should use a teaspoon of salt for every eight ounces of water they consume. It's not until individuals suffer from this condition that they realize just how many times per day they swallow, which is why they're likely searching for any possible remedy that will ease a sore throat. In most cases, gargling with salt water should provide patients with some relief from viral pharyngitis. 

The salt barrier created in the throat when gargling ensures a substantial amount of fluids are pulled out from the tissues in the throat. These fluids will invariably contain some of the viruses patients are affected by, which means they should find some relief. Patients should consider using this treatment at least several times each day until the virus has been eliminated from their body.

Use A Humidifier


Another simple home remedy for treating viral pharyngitis is to use a humidifier, which is particularly beneficial for this condition since this device adds water to the air. By placing extra moisture into the air, patients will be able to avoid issues where the air becomes too dry. The presence of dry air in the home can cause viral pharyngitis to worsen, which is especially true when they're sleeping at night. However, it's important patients don't overuse the humidifier while trying to recover from viral pharyngitis, as doing so can worsen some respiratory problems. 

Dry air is very common during colder months or even during hot months when the air conditioner is in use. A variety of humidifiers can be used for this type of therapy, including steam vaporizers, central humidifiers, evaporators, and impeller humidifiers. Patients should ensure they keep the humidity levels in their home between thirty to fifty percent if they want to reap the most benefits.

Take Throat Lozenges


Viral pharyngitis patients are highly recommended to try throat lozenges, which are regularly referred to as cough drops. This treatment option has proven to be highly effective at relieving the pain and discomfort caused by viral pharyngitis. The types of benefits patients receive depend on which throat lozenges they select. For instance, some lozenges contain a substance known as menthol, which interacts with the cold receptors in the throat and should help reduce symptoms. 

In general, these lozenges can contain a wide range of substances like painkillers, antibacterial agents, cough suppressants, and zinc, all of which are known to reduce symptoms of viral pharyngitis and related conditions. Patients should also look for cough drops containing natural honey or lemon, as both of these contain ingredients that can soothe sore throats.

Try Pain Medication


Nearly all cases of viral pharyngitis come with at least some pain. When patients are experiencing pain because of viral pharyngitis, they may want to try pain medication, of which there are many different types available. If the pain is severe enough, prescription medications are usually appropriate, though patients must speak with their primary doctor for this. The most common pain medications used for treating viral pharyngitis include ibuprofen and acetaminophen, both of which can be obtained over-the-counter. This treatment option is considered to be highly effective when paired with the other home care remedies on this list such as drinking clear liquids and using throat lozenges.

Get Sufficient Rest


Patients with viral pharyngitis absolutely must get sufficient rest. There are many different viruses that can cause the throat to be sore. The vast majority of them will resolve on their own in a few days to weeks. But if individuals aren't resting enough, their immune system will suffer, which can cause the virus to linger or to have more serious symptoms. For healthy individuals, sleep specialists recommending getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep per night. Individuals need even more rest when they're fighting a cold or flu though. Many find themselves sleeping for ten to twelve hours a night. It's best to allow this so their body can fight off the cold more effectively.

Suck On Ice Chips


If someone's throat is extremely sore, one thing that can help with the pain is to suck on ice chips. Ice chips are little bits of ice that can melt in the patient's mouth. The cold water lowers the temperature of their throat and produces a numbing effect like an internal ice pack. This helps soothe the overall pain and inflammation. If individuals need something warm, it can also help to drink warmed soup through a straw. 

When a patient's throat is sore because of a virus like the common cold, their nerves send signals telling their body it's in pain. The pain signals are caused by their immune response. The immune system uses molecules called prostaglandin E2 and bradykinin to tell when it's suffering from a viral infection. Cold items like ice chips and popsicles stop the pain signals.

Maintain Proper Hygiene


Individuals can protect themselves from prolonged symptoms and protect others from contracting their virus by maintaining proper hygiene. Most patients recover from a cold in seven to ten days. But some, like those with compromised immune systems, may experience difficult complications. Studies show adults experience around two to three colds each year, while children deal with even more. The most important hygiene-related behavior is for individuals to wash their hands multiple times a day with both water and soap. 

Each hand-washing session should last at least twenty seconds. Individuals should try not to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes with their unwashed hands. If possible, they should stay away from others who are sick. When individuals sneeze or cough, they should cover their mouth and nose.

Alternative Remedies


There are a number of herbal and alternative remedies individuals can use to treat a sore throat at home. One is to use marshmallow root to lubricate and coat their throat. The actively working substance is a gelatin-like, naturally occurring substance called mucilage. Sage and echinacea can be combined to use as a throat spray. These two ingredients help reduce inflammation and fight bacteria in the throat. 

Patients can use a combination of honey and apple cider vinegar to soothe a sore throat as well. Just mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey with one cup of warmed water. Drink this mixture. Individuals should make sure to dilute the apple cider vinegar in water so they don't cause side effects like potential tooth decay or digestive issues.


    HealthPrep Staff