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Pharyngitis Causes & Risks


Many things can cause pharyngitis and tonsillopharyngitis. Causes include:

  • Infection with a virus, such as the viruses that cause influenza (the flu) and the common cold
  • Infection with bacteria, such as the bacteria that cause strep throat
  • Mucus from your sinuses that drains into your throat
  • Smoking
  • Breathing polluted air
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Hay fever or other allergies
  • Acid reflux from the stomach
  • Allergies
  • Food debris collecting in small pockets in the tonsils
  • Infectious mononucleosis

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Almost everyone will get a sore throat. These risk factors increase your chance of getting a sore throat:

  • Age: children and teens, and people aged 65 or older
  • Exposure to someone with a sore throat or any other infection involving the throat, nose, or ears
  • Situations that cause stress, such as traveling, working, or living in close contact with people
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke, toxic fumes, industrial smoke, and other air pollutants
  • Having other medical conditions that affect your immune system, such as AIDS or cancer
  • Stress
  • Hay fever or other allergies

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Pharyngitis Guide

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