Tonsillitis – What to Expect and How to Manage?

Friday 03rd Jun 2022 |

Tonsillitis is the inflammation of tonsils which are large glands located in the tonsillar fossa at the back of the throat. These glands are responsible for producing antibodies that help prevent infections. 

Mostly tonsillitis occurs in children, but some adults get it too. Tonsillitis is caused by bacteria and viruses like streptococcus, adenovirus, EBV, herpes virus, etc. 

Symptoms Of Tonsillitis

Symptoms might differ from person to person depending on various factors, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Enlarged red tonsils
  • The tonsils might be yellow or grey or have white patches on them.
  • Painful Blisters in the throat
  • Sore throat that occurs spontaneously 
  • Loud snoring while sleeping
  • Bad breath
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Tender or swollen lymph nodes in the neck or jaw area 

Sometimes, people do not develop any symptoms of tonsillitis. In such cases, mostly a strep pneumonia infection is present, which can easily be transmitted to the next person. 


Untreated Tonsillitis – A Complication

If the tonsillitis is not treated within time and with proper medications, a complication might occur. It is called a peritonsillar abscess. The peritonsillar area is around tonsils that become filled with bacteria forming abscesses. The symptoms of this condition ars

  • Severe pain in the throat
  • Muffled voice
  • Drooling of saliva
  • A problem in opening the jaw. 

Risk Factors For Tonsillitis in Adults:

  • Mostly in childhood, tonsils are removed at one point or another due to tonsillitis. Those adults that still have intact tonsils are at risk of developing tonsillitis. 
  • If you live with the children or are close to them, you might catch a bacteria or virus from them. 
  • Older adults have weakened immune systems, and hence, they are more prone to tonsillitis. 

Diagnosis of Tonsillitis:

First of all, your health care provider will take a thorough history of your clinical, medical, and family background. Then the physician will do a physical exam (inspection, palpation, etc.). The physician might take a swab sample of secretions from the back of your mouth and from the tonsils to perform the following investigations. 

  • Rapid strep test
  • Throat culture and sensitivity

These investigations will reveal an infection, if any. The physician will finalize a diagnosis and brief you about it. 


Treatment Of Tonsillitis:

1. Medications:

Tonsillitis caused by the virus is not always treated, especially due to mild influenza infection. But severe conditions are treated with antivirals. Tonsillitis caused by bacterial infections is treated with antibiotics. The medications are developed in pharmaceutical industries with proper sterile fill finish

2. Surgery:

Surgery was common, but now tonsillectomy is only done if the infection is chronic and occurs repeatedly. Tonsillectomy is considered if a person gets tonsillitis seven times in a single year or three times a year for three consecutive years. Tonsillectomy is also done if tonsils are causing sleep apnea or complicated abscesses. 

3. Home Care:

To ease the pain and be comfortable, make sure that you drink plenty of water and take a rest. Gargling with salt water several times a day is also helpful. Avoid smoking and use over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen for recovery. 

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