Is Acute Pharyngitis Infectious?

What Is It?

Pharyngitis, also known as a sore throat, is an inflammation of the back part of the throat, whose scientific name is pharynx. No matter what the type of the pharyngitis (acute or chronic), you unfortunately feel a great deal of pain and irritation in your throat when you are diseased.

Bacterial Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis is commonly caused by a virus or bacterium. Viruses are the main reason for almost 90 percent of throat infections. Bacterial pharyngitis appears in sudden and severe inflammations, is easier to treat than the chronic one, yet it may lead to more severe diseases if not cured properly. Group A streptococcus is the most common type of bacteria which causes acute pharyngitis.


The treatment of acute pharyngitis is usually much easier and faster than that of chronic pharyngitis. If the reason behind your pharyngitis is bacteria, your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics, which you will use for approximately 10 days. Depending on the type and the severity of your symptoms, you may also be prescribed other medicine such as gargle, anti-inflammatory painkillers, cough syrup, antihistamines, or nasal spray.

How Is It Spread?

Pharyngitis is contagious. Moreover, it can spread fast among people, particularly in winter and spring. Bacteria and viruses in the infected person’s nasal discharge, saliva, or mucus may infect other people easily (cough, sneeze, sharing of food or drinks). Even indirect exposure to contaminated belongings of a diseased person (toothbrush, towel, hairbrush, etc.) is enough to get infected. The most risky places for pharyngitis to spread are schools, work environment, and day care centers. Apart from these, pharyngitis can also be transmitted by a person who unknowingly has the bacteria in their throat but no symptoms, and who is called a carrier.

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