Rhinopharyngitis starts with a sore throat and sometimes a moderate fever (less than 39°C). These symptoms persist for one to three days.
The nose becomes blocked and then runny for two to ten days. Secretions are first clear and then become thick, yellow or greenish. There might also be a cough that lasts up to 10 days.
These symptoms are due to an inflammation of the nasal cavity and the pharynx (located at the back of the nasal fossae), caused by a virus. Rhinopharyngitis is a frequent infection that is harmless but contagious.
• Fever: Rhinopharyngitis usually starts with an increase in temperature
• Runny nose: mucus may be infected and alternate with nasal obstruction which gives the feeling of a blocked nose. It is clear in the beginning but progressively becomes thicker as it becomes infected
• Vomiting or diarrhoea are experienced from time to time.
In the majority of cases, rhinopharyngitis gets better by itself in about a week. The treatment is mostly aimed at relieving symptoms such as a sore throat, headache and nasal congestion. Certain measures are recommended by the doctor to improve comfort and prevent complications:
• Get a lot of rest: For children, encourage calm activities away from noise
• Drink at least 2 litres per day and fluids such as hot broth, herbal tea, water or juice, to stay well-hydrated
• To soothe a sore throat, gargle using tepid salt water several times a day
• Maintain a moderate ambient temperature (below 21°C) and a humidity rate of 80 to 90% to liquefy nasal secretions and reduce coughing. Use a humidifier if necessary
• Use nasal drops or a saline solution to relieve congestion
• Have showers or hot baths
• To soothe skin irritation around the nostrils, apply a little vaseline (or petroleum jelly) to the sensitive area. These products are available from pharmacies.