Science

Health: What is the difference between a common cold and a pharyngitis infection?

“Antibiotics simply don’t work with a viral infection”

Sore throat is a common symptom of an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or the flu; It can also be a symptom of a bacterial infection known as strep throat.

Family medicine specialist Dr. Tina Ardon explains the difference.

Your child complains that he has an itchy throat and that it hurts when he tries to pass food.

Most of the time it is a viral infection that will go away on its own. It can treat the symptoms, but there is no cure for a cold or influenza virus.

“Antibiotics simply don’t work with a viral infection,” says Ardon.

If your child complains of a sore throat and does not cough, it may be a symptom of another type of upper respiratory infection.

“Strep throat is a bacterial infection that occurs in the back of the throat.”

The symptoms are red dots on the back of the palate or red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white spots.

“Generally, if it is pharyngitis, the symptoms occur behind the throat; fever, possibly headache and then sore throat,” says Ardon.

Your medical provider may perform laboratory tests to confirm if it is strep throat and will give you antibiotics for the infection.

“If the child has other symptoms, such as nasal discharge, sneezing, cough, it is very unlikely that it is a strep throat.”

It is highly recommended to rest and drink warm comforting liquids. Make sure your child has been immunized against influenza.