Viral Pharyngitis

ExitCare ImageViral pharyngitis is a viral infection that produces redness, pain, and swelling (inflammation) of the throat. It can spread from person to person (contagious). 


Viral pharyngitis is caused by inhaling a large amount of certain germs called viruses. Many different viruses cause viral pharyngitis.


Symptoms of viral pharyngitis include:

  • Sore throat.

  • Tiredness.

  • Stuffy nose.

  • Low-grade fever.

  • Congestion.

  • Cough.


Treatment includes rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and the use of over-the-counter medication (approved by your caregiver).


  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Eat soft, cold foods such as ice cream, frozen ice pops, or gelatin dessert.

  • Gargle with warm salt water (1 tsp salt per 1 qt of water).

  • If over age 7, throat lozenges may be used safely.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not take aspirin.

To help prevent spreading viral pharyngitis to others, avoid:

  • Mouth-to-mouth contact with others.

  • Sharing utensils for eating and drinking.

  • Coughing around others.


  • You are better in a few days, then become worse.

  • You have a fever or pain not helped by pain medicines.

  • There are any other changes that concern you.