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Pharyngitis: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Throat discomfort is a widespread problem in the general population; they are usually associated with various viral or bacterial infections, the ones that cause white lumps in the throat are bacterial infections, the main one being streptococcal pharyngitis or tonsillitis caused by a bacterium called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus or in its scientific name Streptococcus pyogenes.

Streptococcus is a bacteria that can be spread easily among people who share small spaces, such as offices or classrooms; this bacteria dies when it dries; for example, if you sneeze into a tissue and it dries, it can stay alive for up to two weeks in damp places like toothbrushes. Do you want to know why I get white balls in my throat? In the following FastlyHealarticle we will explain it to you.

Pharyngitis: causing white pellets

The onset of pharyngitis symptoms can occur quickly after infection, between one and three days after contact with someone sick. In general, the affected person will have the following symptoms:

  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Fatigue.
  • Throat pain.
  • Pain when swallowing water or food.
  • High fever, more significant than 38ºC.
  • You can also have swollen cervical ganglia, which are the organs of our body responsible for producing the first line of defense to prevent the infection from progressing.
  • The appearance of white balls or spots in the throat or on the tonsils themselves.

Diagnosis of white lumps in the throat

The diagnosis of strep throat is usually made in the doctor’s office. The doctor will ask you about the signs and symptoms you may have experienced. Then he will check you; in the physical examination, he will look at your throat and identify the white balls or spots; he will also feel your neck, looking for the cervical nodes and thus notice if they are inflamed.

With all this information, the doctor can make the diagnosis of strep throat, although the diagnosis with 100% certainty can only be achieved by a test called a pharyngeal swab; in this test.

  1. A small sample of the white pellets in the throat is taken with a swab and sent to a laboratory for study.
  2. In the laboratory, they place this tiny sample in a container that contains a type of gelatin called agar, which helps bacteria grow.
  3. This sample is left in an incubator for two days and then tested for bacteria growth.
  4. A microscope shows which bacteria grew

This diagnostic method has a variant that is used in most cases and is to add something called an antibiogram to the agar, which is a kind of plastic star that has a different antibiotic at each end; this star is placed on top of the gelatin with the bacteria “seeded” and the way to interpret it is simple: if the bacteria grew above the tip, that antibiotic does not work for this infection, on the other hand, if the bacteria did not grow near the end of the star, that antibiotic It is helpful to fight this bacterium.

The laboratory reports these results to the doctor, and thus a treatment that is known to be 100% effective against the infection can be given.

Treatment of pharyngitis and white lumps in the throat

Treatment usually begins immediately; the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic that will cover most infections typically seen in the throat; if the treatment does not work or the infection returns after a short time, the pharyngeal exudate can be done with an antibiogram.

The first line of antibiotics to be prescribed in this case are penicillins; they have a perfect spectrum of action (that is, they act against many bacteria) and cause few side effects specifically, they are used

  • La penicilina G benzatina.
  • Penicillin V.
  • Amoxicillin.

In the case of people allergic to penicillin, erythromycin can be used, and if the first line of treatment has already been tried and has not obtained a good result, the treatment can be escalated to:

  • Cephalosporins, such as cephalexin.
  • Lincosamides, such as clindamycin and lincomycin.

The doctor will indicate the doses according to the severity of the infection and the patient’s age. However, the treatments usually last between 5 and 10 days, and there is usually medicine that takes every 6 or 8 hours.

Part of the treatment includes analgesics and antipyretics to calm the discomfort of the body and sore throat and remove fever; they are recommended

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as:
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Indomethacin
  • Aspirin (only in adults, should not be given to children)
  • Paracetamol, which has very few harmful side effects and is easily accessible

You should drink plenty of fluids, rest if possible, and use tissues to sneeze or cough, avoiding going to crowded places or kissing greetings, thus reducing contagion.

Possible complications of pharyngitis

The complications of streptococcal pharyngitis are found when the infection is not treated promptly or treatment is not completed. The bacteria travel to other sites in the body, such as the paranasal sinuses, the middle ear, the blood, or the skin, and infect them.

Other complications independent of treatment are inflammatory reactions such as:

  • Scarlet fever: is a generalized infection caused by beta-hemolytic streptococcus.
  • Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis: is an infection of the kidneys caused by the same bacteria.
  • Rheumatic fever: can involve the heart, joints, nervous system, and skin and is caused by an immune system response against beta-hemolytic streptococcus.

Pharyngitis prevention

The best way to prevent contagion is that if we have contracted the disease, we try to stay at home; if this is not possible, we must:

  • Wash our hands frequently, especially if we have sneezed, coughed, or wiped our noses with a tissue
  • Covering our mouth when sneezing or coughing should be done with the internal angle of the elbow, not with the hands since when we surround ourselves with our hands and then touch something, we leave the things we feel full of bacteria,
  • Do not share glasses, cutlery, or toothbrushes
  • Ventilate the rooms very well, so the bacteria can dry out and stop being infectious.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I get white balls in my throat , we recommend that you enter our Ear, Nose and Throat category .

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