Tonsillitis: what to look for and how to treat it

Tonsillitis

Okay, tonsillitis is an important condition, especially if you have kids. The tonsils are a pair of lymph nodes that you will find dangling at the back of your throat.

They function to protect your body from getting an infection. But then what happens when the part of your body that helps to prevent infection gets infected? Well, what you get is tonsilitis.

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis (source: britannica.com)

This is an illness that can occur at any age, but it is more common in kids. When your tonsils are red, swollen, and painful, then they are infected and you have tonsillitis.

It usually clears all on its own in a few days, but sometimes it can be chronic and last much longer. The condition itself is not contagious, but the infections that cause it can be.

What causes it?

Tonsillitis can have viral or bacterial causal agents. Viral tonsillitis usually just clears up on its own. For the one caused by bacteria, a course of antibiotics can be prescribed to clear it up.

For chronic and recurring tonsillitis, though, research has suggested that it’s caused by biofilms in the tonsil folds. Biofilms are a collection of microorganisms, they usually have better antibiotic resistance. This makes them stick around long enough to cause a reinfection.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of this illness include:

  • sore throat
  • swallowing difficulty
  • scratchy voice
  • fever
  • headache

If you have chronic tonsillitis, the symptoms can be even more serious, including:

  • Swollen and painful neck glands (you can feel them at the side of the neck)
  • You can see white, puss-filled areas on your tonsils located at the back of your throat
  • halitosis (bad breath)

How to treat it

Tonsillectomy
Tonsillectomy (source: medlineplus.gov)

Most times, tonsillitis will usually clear up in a few days. And to stop spreading it, you might want to stay home for a few days. You should also cough and sneeze into a tissue and then throw them away after and wash your hands.

Also, drink cool drinks (to give your throat some relief), and take some paracetamol. You can also gargle with warm, salty water, just like you would do when you have a sore throat.

Another option here is to speak with your pharmacist. They would know what to give you. They can give you throat sprays, lozenges, or antiseptics (if it is caused by a bacteria)

The treatment of last recourse is to have your tonsils surgically taken out- tonsillectomy. This rarely happens, and doctors only recommend it when you have chronic or recurring tonsillitis.

Final words

Tonsillitis is not a particularly serious infection, but it could spread if left untreated. It may also lead to other health issues including difficulty in breathing.

Once you have identified what it is through the symptoms, make sure to get it treated and you will be fine. Remember to stay home and not cough or sneeze into someone’s face if you have tonsillitis.

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Segun is an ardent lover of fashion, reading and writing. When Segun isn't swimming baking or cooking he is punching away keys somewhere on the African continent. He is a creative with a penchant for finding (and in some cases creating) new and interesting ways of doing things. For more details, send an email to info@healthfacts.ng

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