Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils. Tonsils are located in the back of the mouth near the top of the throat. Tonsils are an important part of the body because they filter out lymph, a colorless fluid containing white blood cells (part of the immune system). When functioning properly, tonsils are responsible for pushing the lymph into the bloodstream. Tonsillitis is a condition that affects children as well as adults. Patients who have tonsillitis may experience headache, ear pain and difficulty breathing through the mouth or swallowing.
It can be difficult for patients to self-diagnose whether they have tonsillitis. Symptoms experienced by children and adults may differ. Children may drool, refuse to eat or be unusually fussy. For adult patients who have tonsilitis, some symptoms of this condition include:
- bad breath
- stiff neck
- red, swollen tonsils
- difficulty swallowing
- ear pain
- fever and chills
- sore throat that lasts for more than 48 hours
- tenderness of the jaw and throat
- problems breathing
- problems eating or drinking
Tonsillitis is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of causes. Tonsillitis can be caused by a virus or bacteria. The most common bacteria responsible for causing tonsillitis is Streptococcus pyogenes, the same bacteria that causes strep throat. Strep throat is another common cause of tonsillitis. Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection of the throat area. In severe cases, tonsillitis might be a sign of a more severe health condition such as cancer or a tumor. This condition could be a sign of a weak immune system.
- Strep throat
- bacterial infection
- viral infection
Patients who have the symptoms of tonsillitis but aren't sure that they have the condition should check with their doctor or medical professional. The symptoms in adults who have tonsillitis vary from children's symptoms. Therefore, there are two tests that a doctor will perform to confirm the presence of this condition.
First, a doctor will perform a throat swab. With this test, a doctor rubs a sterile swab all over the tonsil region to get a sample and check whether the patient has a bacterial infection has affected the normal count of blood cells.
Secondly, a doctor may also perform a complete blood count. This test can be an important indicator to check if the blood cell count is appropriate or if a bacterial infection has affected the normal blood cell count.
- throat swab
- blood cell count
For patients who have tonsillitis, the inflammation and swelling can be quite a painful experience. There are various treatments to treat tonsillitis including surgery to remove the tonsils, antibiotics to treat the infection that is causing the condition as well as home treatments (aspirin, ibuprofen) that can be effective in treating symptoms.
Antibiotics are quite effective in targeting the bacteria or virus that cause the infection. Using penicillin or amoxicillin for ten days consecutively can take on the bacteria that causes tonsillitis.
For cases in which antibiotics are not effective or if the patient experiences chronic cases, it might be necessary for the patient to consider a tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of the tonsils.
- home remedies