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What is pharyngitis?

Q: I am a 22 years old student suffering from throat problem for the last year. The doctor told me that I am suffering from pharyngitis. What is pharyngitis? How can it be managed?

A:Pharyngitis means inflammation of the throat. It is a fairly generic term to describe anything from mild redness of the throat causing irritation, sticking sensation, burning, dry cough, to acute pharyngitis which is severe acute infection of throat with pain, pain on swallowing and sometimes fever. This is an infective pathology and needs treatment with antibiotics, and it goes away.

Chronic pharyngitis (which you seem to have), can be due to allergy/irritation due to dust, pollution, etc. and needs treatment with antihistaminics. Reflux of acid from the stomach (GERD) may also be a cause of chronic pharyngitis, and needs management by suitable medication (proton pump inhibitors) and lifestyle modification like avoidance of excess tea/coffee/alcohol/spices/fried stuff etc., maintaining a gap between last meal and sleeping, head end elevation etc. Warm saline gargles will also help treat the throat but excess cold drinks/ ice are not soothing.

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