Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)

What Is It?

A sore throat, also called a throat infection or pharyngitis, is a painful inflammation of the back part of the throat (pharynx). Pharyngitis can involve some or all of these parts of the throat:

  • the back third of the tongue

  • the soft palate (roof of the mouth)

  • the tonsils (fleshy tissue that are part of the throat's immune defenses).

The most common cause of sore throat is infection with bacteria or a virus.

Because an infection of the pharynx almost always involves the tonsils, tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) was once a common name for infectious pharyngitis.

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