Chronic pharyngitis is a persistent inflammation of the pharynx. It is common in adults who work or live in dusty surroundings, use their voice to excess, suffer from chronic cough, and habitu-ally use alcohol and tobacco.
Three types of chronic pharyngitis are recognized:
· Hypertrophic: characterized by general thickening and con-gestion of the pharyngeal mucous membrane
· Atrophic: probably a late stage of the first type (the mem-brane is thin, whitish, glistening, and at times wrinkled)
· Chronic granular (“clergyman’s sore throat”): character-ized by numerous swollen lymph follicles on the pharyn-geal wall
Patients with chronic pharyngitis complain of a constant sense of irritation or fullness in the throat, mucus that collects in the throat and can be expelled by coughing, and difficulty swallowing.
Treatment of chronic pharyngitis is based on relieving symptoms, avoiding exposure to irritants, and correcting any upper respira-tory, pulmonary, or cardiac condition that might be responsible for a chronic cough.
Nasal congestion may be relieved by short-term use of nasal sprays or medications containing ephedrine sulfate (Kondon’s Nasal) or phenylephrine hydrochloride (Neo-Synephrine). If there is a history of allergy, one of the antihistamine decongestant med-ications, such as Drixoral or Dimetapp, is taken orally every 4 to 6 hours. Aspirin or acetaminophen is recommended for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
To prevent the infection from spreading, the nurse instructs the patient to avoid contact with others until the fever subsides. Alcohol, tobacco, second-hand smoke, and exposure to cold are avoided, as are environmental or occupational pollutants if pos-sible. The patient may minimize exposure to pollutants by wear-ing a disposable facemask. The nurse encourages the patient to drink plenty of fluids. Gargling with warm saline solutions may relieve throat discomfort. Lozenges will keep the throat moistened.