Pharyngitis presents with:
- A sore throat. This is the main symptom.
- Pain on swallowing. Young children may refuse to eat.
- Enlarged, tender cervical lymph nodes
- Abdominal pain is common in young children
- Mild cough
The symptoms usually disappear within 5 days.
On examination the throat is very red (inflamed). The mucus membrane of the back of the throat appears swollen and granular.
Often it is difficult to differentiate between pharyngitis and a common cold as the symptoms overlap. However, a sore throat without a blocked or runny nose suggests a pharyngitis.
A membrane on the pharyngeal mucosa suggests diphtheria. This is a rare infection as most children are immunised with DPT. Children with diphtheria are usually severely ill. Children with glandular fever may also have a membrane.