What is Tonsillitis?
Tonsils are two lymph nodes located at the back of the throat. These are filters that trap germs that enter the airways. They produce antibodies to fight against the germs that enter into the throat but sometimes the virus or bacteria can infect it. When that happens it gets infected and the resulting condition is called tonsillitis. It is a common condition in children and happens frequently. There are three types:
- Acute tonsillitis: Symptoms lasts for a few days to 2 weeks
- Recurrent tonsillitis: Happens many times in a year
- Chronic tonsillitis: Symptoms lasts a long term
The most common symptoms of tonsillitis are the tonsils are swollen and inflamed and in some cases, it results in difficulty breathing through the mouth. In children, there are other signs of this condition, which are:
- Being fussy
- Not eating food or drinking fluids
- Stomach pain
- Vomiting and upset stomach
Symptoms for tonsillitis in adults, apart from inflamed and swollen tonsils are:
- Throat pain
- Tenderness in the throat
- Tonsils turn red in colour due to infection and inflammation
- Ulcers in the mouth or blisters can also appear
- Fever with chills
- Stiff neck
- Unable to swallow saliva
- Pain in the ears
- Swollen jaw and neck glands
- Loss of appetite
- The voice is not normal and sounds muffled
- Bad breath
Who is at Risk?
Tonsillitis risk factors are:
- It is most common in younger kids especially in the age group of 2 to 10 years as they would not have a strong immunity to infections.
- Infected people can spread it to others as they breathe or sneeze out droplets that contain the virus.
- People living in places that are not well-ventilated, over-crowded, or are exposed to people with infections are more prone to tonsillitis.
- People who have compromised immunity due to auto-immune disorders, HIV, or other infections.
- People who have taken steroids for a long period of time.
Tonsils produce WBCs to fight against diseases and are considered as the first line of defence in the body. Due to this, they are more vulnerable to attacks by:
- The virus called Viral tonsillitis. It is most commonly caused by the same virus that causes the common cold but it can also be caused by other viruses like the rhinovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, and Hepatitis A.
- Bacteria is called bacterial tonsillitis. It is commonly caused by strep bacteria which causes strep throat. It is common in kids ages 5 and 15.
How is Tonsillitis Diagnosed?
The doctor will start the tonsillitis diagnosis by performing a physical examination. Other methods are:
- The doctor asks about the signs of tonsillitis and checks the swelling of the tonsils. The outside of the throat is examined and then the internals like the lymph nodes are checked to determine if there is a rash.
- A blood test is ordered as a tonsillitis test to check certain types of blood cells.
- A swab test is conducted by taking a saliva sample from the back of the throat to determine if the infection is bacterial or viral. Both the swab and blood test are supplementary to each other if one of them is not conclusive.
How is Tonsillitis Treated?
Tonsilitis with mild symptoms especially those caused by a virus that causes cold does not need medical treatment. But for more severe conditions the tonsillitis treatment options are:
- Medications: Over the counter medications for relieving pain can be used if you have throat pain, fever, and other such symptoms. If the cause of the infection is a bacteria antibiotics may be recommended as a medicine, but it is not effective to fight the virus.
- Tonsillectomy: Surgical removal of tonsils may be recommended if the condition is chronic, recurrent, or is causing secondary issues. If issues like sleep apnea, breathing or swallowing difficulties, untreatable abscess, or tonsillar cellulitis are caused, it may need removal and is called a tonsillectomy.
If bacteria are the cause of tonsillitis it needs to be treated properly as it can lead to complications. Book an online, video, or offline consultation with our experts at Cure.fit to get proper tonsillitis cure.
How can Tonsillitis be Prevented?
To reduce the chances of getting tonsillitis the below tips can help:
- Replace toothbrushes regularly.
- Avoiding touching your nose or mouth.
- Wash your hands frequently before you touch your mouth or nose or eat food.
- Don’t share drinks and food with sick people.
- Wear a mask if you are working with people who are sick.
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily to ensure you have strong immunity.