The term tonsillitis has been a very household name, and is normally used when describing difficulty of swallowing food or drinks due to pain, hoarse voice, etc. However, tonsillitis is more than those. Read on and know more about tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is the condition in which the tonsils get inflamed. Situated in the rear side of the throat and of the mouth, tonsils are lymph nodes which serves as a guard against microorganisms and other bacteria to help prevent the body from getting infected. But even if tonsils have such function in the body, it sometimes could not protect itself when attacked by viruses, thus it becomes swollen.
What Causes Tonsillitis?
It is caused by an overload of virus or bacteria. Not all kinds of bacteria and viruses could be filtered by the tonsils, thus resulting in inflammation. Children are the ones mostly experiencing this illness because they yet could not handle complex bacteria and viruses. Their immune system is still undergoing development.
Tonsillitis is normally characterized with fever, sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness or loss of voice, and unusual softness of the throat or the jaw. Sometimes, ear pain, headache and chills could also be present.
What Are The Risks Involved?
For children, having tonsillitis is equivalent to an adult having common cold. Most of the bacteria and viruses that could cause tonsillitis live in enclosed spaces and multiplies faster in children. However, most adults acquire pharyngitis rather than tonsillitis, which is more severe because of the infection of the surrounding areas in the tonsils. Pharyngitis develops from tonsillitis when left untreated.
How Will You Know If You Have Tonsillitis?
It is best to consult the doctor when symptoms do not go away within days. The doctor checks the swelling of the throat to further check whether it is a case of tonsillitis. In most instances, those with tonsillitis have very visible and enlarged tonsils. There are also some cases, particularly in severe infection, in which the tonsils will be surrounded by white patches. When the tonsils are severely infected, lymph nodes present in the neck and in the jaw will be soft to the touch because of the swelling.
The most common and the most severe type of bacteria that affects the tonsils is the streptococcus. To see if the patient is infected with the said bacteria, the doctor swabs the patient’s tonsils and will be examined for the contamination of the streptococci bacteria.
If left untreated, tonsillitis could cause other complications that might be life threatening. Although the severe swelling would not affect breathing, the bacteria spreads to the other parts of the body, especially to the heart- causing cardiac problems. Other disorders that might result in the severity of the are: dehydration, throat abscess, failure for the kidney to function well, and post Streptococcal Glomerulonephritis - a disorder in the kidney due to the infection of streptococcus bacteria in the body. Thus, at the onset of a sore throat, it is highly advised to seek medical advise to get diagnosed right away.
What Are The Treatments Available?
Tonsillitis at its early stage is curable with antibiotic, antipyretic medicines, rest and increased fluid intake. Patients could also seek relief from warm fluids and mint (with antibacterial action) lozenges. However, in cases when the tonsillitis becomes incurable with antibiotics, tonsillectomy becomes the last resort. This process is the removal of the inflamed tonsils. This is done to prevent other complications in the body to take place, and to finally put an end to the recurring tonsillitis of some patients.
It is very important to follow the orders of the physician in the course of treatment. The usage of aspirin in children infected with any kinds of virus, particularly for tonsillitis is not advised because it can lead to other complications such as Reye’s syndrome or damage of the brain, liver, and other vital organs of the body. The patient should take lots of rest to gain a stronger immune system. The decrease of usual appetite should be expected because of the pain in swallowing. However, patients should eat well. In this case, the patient should eat only those soft foods.
Since tonsillitis is caused by a virus or bacteria, it could be contagious. Anyone having tonsillitis should stay at home to keep the virus or bacteria from spreading. If the doctor advises to take antibiotics, do so. Follow the prescribed time frame in taking the medication to kill the bacteria totally and to avoid the bacteria in gaining immunity from the medication. Prevent the bacteria or virus to spread elsewhere. If there are signs of infection outside the tonsils, it is recommended to see the doctor to avoid further complications.
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