General complications of pharyngitis (mainly seen in cases of bacterial pharyngitis) include:

– sinusitis

– otitis media

– epiglottitis

– mastoiditis

– pneumonia

The cause of pharyngitis determines the course of treatment. With salt water gargles, painkillers, and extra fluids to aid with the symptoms, viral pharyngitis resolves on its own. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pharyngitis, while antifungal drugs are used to treat fungus pharyngitis.

However, for the majority of children, treating acute attacks as they occur is all that is required to treat the infection, and as the child matures, infection episodes typically become less frequent. Viral infections, bacterial infections, or a mix of the two can all result in tonsillitis. Younger preschoolers typically develop viral pharyngitis and tonsillitis, but older kids and adults typically develop bacterial illnesses.

Prompt antibiotic therapy is needed for strep throat because untreated, it can sometimes cause kidney problems and rheumatic fever, which can damage the heart valves. A full assessment in the clinic will guide treatment for other causes. Penicillin is still effective against many of the infectious organisms that cause tonsillitis, and is particularly useful against streptococcus, which causes the classical form of tonsillitis. Viral infections on the other hand are not affected by antibiotics at all, and the situation can actually be made worse through the unnecessary use of antibiotics. These infections are best treated by supportive measures alone, although gargles such as Betadine may prove helpful.

Contact Dr. Barbara Karin Vela if you develop a sore throat that does not go away after several days or if you have a high fever, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, or a rash. Always seek medical care right away if you have Pharyngitis and trouble breathing.