What is it?

PFAPA (Periodic Fever, Aphthous Stomatitis, Pharyngitis, Adenitis) is a rheumatological condition that appears in children. It is seen in both girls and boys and is typically diagnosed in children between the ages 2-and 5. As its name suggests, it causes repeated episodes of fever, mouth sores, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. Rarely, it develops in adulthood. It is yet unknown what causes the activated immune system in PFAPA.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include periodic fever, mouth sores, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, white patches on the tonsils, and more rarely- headache, joint pain,abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The episodes last between a few days to a week, between the episodes these children are healthy.


Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include blood tests, and to rule out other conditions strep culture, imaging test and genetic testing may be done.


Treatment may include a short course of steroids, colchicine, and sometimes surgery to remove the tonsils.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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