Pharyngitis is inflammation of the pharynx, which is in the back of the throat. It’s most often referred to simply as “sore throat.” Pharyngitis can also cause scratchiness in the throat and difficulty swallowing. It is more common in winter or rainy seasons. People seek treatment for sore throat as the main sign of pharyngitis. It’s also one of the most common reasons why people stay home from school or work in the colder months of the year. In order to properly treat a sore throat, it’s important to identify its cause. Pharyngitis may be caused by bacterial or viral infections.
Signs & symptoms
The incubation period is typically 2-5 days but it depends upon the underlying infection. Symptoms that accompany pharyngitis vary depending on the underlying condition.
In addition to a dry, sore or scratchy throat, a cold or flu may cause:
- runny nose
- body aches
In addition to a sore throat, the symptoms of mononucleosis include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- severe fatigue
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
Strep throat, another type of pharyngitis, can also cause:
- difficulty in swallowing
- red throat with white or grey patches
- swollen lymph nodes
- loss of appetite
- bad taste in the mouth
There are numerous viral and bacterial agents that can cause pharyngitis. They include:
- chicken pox
- croop in children with barking cough
- whooping cough
- group A streptococcus
With infectious pharyngitis, bacteria or viruses may directly invade the pharyngeal mucosa, causing a local inflammatory response. Other viruses, such as rhinovirus and coronavirus, can cause irritation of pharyngeal mucosa secondary to nasal secretions.
Streptococcal infections are characterized by local invasion and release of extracellular toxins and proteases. In addition, M protein fragments of certain serotypes of GAS are similar to myocardial sarcolemma antigens and are linked to rheumatic fever and subsequent heart valve damage. Acute glomerulonephritis may result from antibody-antigen complex deposition in glomeruli.
Blood tests for infections
Some cases of pharyngitis resolve on their own, especially mid viral infectious ones. Antibiotics are used to treat pharyngitis caused by a bacterial infection. Other medications like antipyretics and analgesics are used for symptomatic relief.
Mortality from pharyngitis is rare but does occur if the airway is compromised. Most cases of pharyngitis can be successfully treated within a short period.
Complications of bacterial pharyngitis include:
- Otitis media.
- Acute rheumatic fever.
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
- Toxic shock syndrome.
Disease & Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, galarogas are the diseases affecting the Gala(throat). Pharyngitis can be compared with a disease named Galagraha mentioned as a Galaroga (disease of the throat) by Charakacharya. This disease mainly occurs due to vitiation of kapha dosha which settles in Mukha or gala (mouth and throat) causing shotha (inflammation) of the area.
- Diet comprised of Kapha-vitiating items like fish, buffalo, pig and animals that of Aanupa desha (humid places), pumpkin, radish, leftover water after boiling flesh, curd, milk, rice gruel, sugar cane juice etc
- Sleeping in head low position
- Not brushing the teeth properly
- Not doing dhoompanam, vamanam, kabalam & gandusham properly
- Not performing sira vedha(bloodletting) at appropriate time
When the kapha dosha gets vitiated due to the causative factors, and gets lodged in the mouth or throat, the disease is developed with an acute inflammation (shotha).
Sense of obstruction and soreness in the throat
Also, other signs and symptoms can be present, such as:
Jwara – fever
Aruchi – loss of taste sensation
Mukha srava – excess salivation
Kandu – itching
Shotha – swelling in the throat
Shiroruja – headache
Lepanam with Rookshana dravyas
Commonly used medicines
Applying turmeric paste
Lose excess weight and shred off the excess fat
Apple cider vinegar intake
Avoid intake of fat in food
- To be avoided
Heavy meals and difficult to digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Milk and milk products – increase kapha, cause obstruction in channels and respiratory problems
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, honey, warm or hot water
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from cold climate.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Avoid sedentary lifestyle.
Regular stretching and mild cardio exercises are advised. Also, specific yogacharya including naadisuddhi pranayama, bhujangaasana, pavanamuktasana is recommended.
Regular exercise helps improve bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
Simple exercises for lungs and heart health
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, United States. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
Through Ayurvedaforall Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the state committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.
Dr. Nair is a regular speaker at Ayurveda-related conferences and has visited Germany to propagate Ayurveda. You can write directly to him-
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