DEAR DOCTOR K: I saw my doctor last week, who said I had acute pharyngitis but didn't say what that was. It sounds serious. What is it?
DEAR READER: Good news: It's rarely serious. I know the word "acute" in front of any medical term makes it sound serious. And I know that Latin-based words like "pharyngitis" sound alien. But acute pharyngitis simply means that your throat has become inflamed by something, usually an infection.