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Pharyngitis may be caused caused by a viral infection (90% of cases) or by a bacterium (10%). If caused by the group A streptococcus, it is called "strep throat". The chronic form can be caused by a continuing infection of the sinuses, lungs or mouth, or by constant irritation from smoking, breathing heavily polluted air, food allergies or consuming too much alcohol, or by swallowing substances that scald, corrode or scratch the throat. Pharyngitis is a common illness.
Even strep throat is usually a self-limiting disease. Controlled trials show that clinical recovery is similar in cases with and without the use of antibiotics. The "streptophobia" associated with the risk of rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis is probably unwarranted today, although proper care is still important. Epidemiological surveys demonstrate a correlation between vitamin C deficiency and the development of post-streptococcal consequences. Rheumatic fever is virtually nonexistent in the tropics where vitamin C intake is higher; 18% of children in high risk groups have subnormal serum vitamin C levels.
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Allergen: A substance that is capable of producing an allergic response in the body.
Allergy: Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.
Chronic: Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
Erythema Nodosum: Acute inflammation of skin with red nodules.
Glomerulonephritis: Inflammation of glomerulus. The glomerulus is part of a nephron, which in turn is the basic functional (working) unit of a kidney. Millions of nephrons acting together filter the blood to produce urine.
Gonorrhea: A sexually-transmitted disease that is often without symptoms. If there are symptoms in the female, they include frequent and painful urination, cloudy vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, inflammation of the pelvic area, and abnormal uterine bleeding. If the male has a purulent (pus-like) urethral discharge, he should assume he has gonorrhea until proven otherwise.
Rhinitis: Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.
Serum: The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.
Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.