Dealing with tonsillitis – symptoms and treatment

Dealing with tonsillitis – symptoms and treatment

Tonsillitis is when the two lymphatic glands on each side of the throat become infected and inflamed. The tonsils work as a key part of the immune system, producing antibodies as well as white blood cells that attack germs within the mouth. Tonsils are important as a line of defence against bacteria in the food you eat or the air your breath.

Tonsillitis is an infection that can either be caused by a virus or bacteria. This condition can manifest in people from all age groups.

The symptoms of tonsillitis usually are yellowish or white pus on the tonsils and an extremely sore throat. This often includes very uncomfortable pain while swallowing, and swollen lymphatic glands beneath the jaw that are tender to the touch. Fever and bad breath are also symptoms of tonsillitis.

Around 15% of tonsillitis infections are caused by bacteria, and this is usually determined via a swab by a doctor. Viruses are a more common cause of tonsillitis, and antibiotics will not help in treatment if this is the case.

Tonsillitis can also have further complications and become chronic in nature. Secondary infections can spread to other areas like ears or sinuses.

Tonsillitis can also be contagious between 24 to 48 prior to symptoms developing and can still be spread when symptoms manifest. Tonsillitis can be spread by breathing in air droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can also be spread via touching contaminated objects like doorknobs and then touching the face or nose.

Tonsillitis treatments

Tonsillitis caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor. However, the more common viral tonsillitis will go away on its own and treatments will focus on reducing the discomfort of symptoms. Painkillers and rest are the most effective, as well as cool drinks.

Removing the tonsils

One treatment for people who frequently have reoccurring tonsillitis is to remove their tonsils via a tonsillectomy. A doctor may recommend this operation if a patient has frequent tonsillitis or when they have severe compilations resulting from tonsillitis. This operation frequently prescribed for children who suffer tonsillitis often and have their health affected in other ways.

Before a tonsillectomy can take place, a doctor needs to perform a thorough physical examination of the patient. There is an abundant supply of blood to the tonsils, and special care needs to be taken if a patients bleeding is abnormal.

The tonsillectomy itself is performed with general anesthetise, with the surgeon propping open the patient’s mouth. The exposed tonsils are then clamped and separated from the patient with either a laser, scissors, or scalpel. As mentioned, a lot of bleeding can occur due to the tonsil’s high blood supply, so cauterisation is performed to fuse blood vessels.

A tonsillectomy will defeat tonsillitis in that you can’t have infected tonsils once they are removed, but you can still get other upper tract infections. Any bad breath associated with tonsillitis will go away once the operation takes place.

Anyone who thinks they may be developing tonsillitis can talk to a doctor via video consult with Instant Consult.

by Instant Consult