Pharyngitis is quite simply an inflammation of the pharynx. This inflammation causes a sore throat and it can come about for many different reasons. However, patients presenting with a sore throat caused by streptococcal bacteria are more likely to benefit from antibiotics.
FeverPAIN is a clinical scoring tool to work out if antibiotics are likely required. It essentially helps clinicians to work out which is a simple sore throat and what is in fact strep throat.
How does the FeverPAIN score work?
The criteria that makes up the FeverPAIN score is as follows:
- Fever (during previous 24 hours)
- Purulence (pus on tonsils)
- Attend rapidly (within 3 days after onset of symptoms)
- Severely Inflamed tonsils
- No cough or coryza (inflammation of the nasal mucus membranes)
Each of the FeverPAIN criteria score 1 point (maximum score of 5). Higher scores suggest more severe symptoms and likely bacterial (streptococcal) cause. A score of 0 or 1 is thought to be associated with a 13 to 18% likelihood of isolating streptococcus. A score of 2 or 3 is thought to be associated with a 34 to 40% likelihood of isolating streptococcus. A score of 4 or 5 is thought to be associated with a 62 to 65% likelihood of isolating streptococcus.
What’s the difference between a sore throat and strep throat?
Signs and symptoms of strep throat are very similar to an ordinary sore throat. However generally speaking, patients with strep throat will have white patches on the back of the throat or on their tonsils. They are also likely to have no other signs of a cold like a runny nose, although they may well present with swollen lymph nodes (right below the earlobes).
Ordinary sore throats can be the result of all sorts of different things, like a cold, cough, dehydration, allergies or other bacterial infection. They are usually very temporary and symptoms can be relieved with paracetamol/ibuprofen, by drinking water or by sucking lozenges.
Strep throat is more serious however. It’s more painful, likely to last longer, and as it’s almost always bacterial will require antibiotics to clear it up.
Sore throat, strep throat – or something else?
Designed specifically for nurses and front line allied health professionals, PDUK offers an excellent 3-day course worth 21 hours of CPD called Minor ailments essentials. Boosting your confidence in diagnosing the broad spectrum of sore throat types, and is held at Hamilton House, London, in April and September 2020.
Alternatively, why not sign up for our 1-day course, Minor illness triage essentials. Offering 7 hours of valuable CPD it focuses on history taking and essential observations for safe patient management in triage. The course is also specifically aimed at practitioners who are seeing patients with undifferentiated illnesses.
This course is also held at Hamilton House on the 5th May and 3rd July 2020. For both courses, all refreshments and course materials are provided so get signed up today before places run out!