Tonsillitis is a condition that is very commonly the cause of sore throats. This condition is caused by swelling of the tonsils. The tonsils are two ovulate collections of tissue found at the back of the throat. A sure way to identify tonsillitis is by the white or yellow film covering these masses of tissue at the back of the throat.
Tonsillitis is very common among younger kids. Many ask, is tonsillitis contagious? The answer is yes, it is very contagious. Before you head out to that playdate, check and make sure everyone is symptom-free.
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Tonsillitis is when your tonsils become inflamed. The majority of tonsillitis cases caused by common viruses coming into contact with the tonsils and infecting them. However, in some cases, tonsillitis is caused by bacteria as well. In rare instances, tonsillitis has an unknown cause.
Because the right treatment for tonsillitis is based on the actual cause of the condition ( i.e., bacteria, virus, etc.), it is imperative to see a doctor promptly and get an accurate diagnosis of the disease and its cause so that you can get proper treatment.
Operations to remove the tonsils are very common, but they are now less common than in the past. Typically, surgery to have the tonsils removed is performed with recurring, persistent bacterial infections of the tonsils that do not respond to doctors’ treatments. This continual infections make day to day life very difficult.
Tonsillitis SymptomsWhen a doctor makes a diagnosis, they look at the symptoms caused by the condition to find the root of the symptoms. Following is a list of the symptoms that are caused by tonsillitis:
- Tonsils that are red and inflamed
- A white or yellow film and blotches on the tonsils themselves
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing
- Sore throat
- Swollen and painful lymph nodes, located in the neck
- Sore and stiff neck
- Stomach ache
- Hoarse voice
- Foul breath
When diagnosing tonsillitis, the doctor will use a lighted instrument called an otoscope to view the throat, ears, and nose. The ears and nose, interconnected with the tonsils, make it possible for any infection to spread to these as well.
The doctor will also view the throat looking for a condition known as scarlatina, a symptom commonly associated with the condition known as strep throat. He will also feel for swollen glands in the neck to make the lymph nodes are not inflamed and listen to your breathing with a stethoscope.
One final examination the doctor will make is to check the spleen area for any inflammation. The reason for this is to be able to rule out a case of mononucleosis, commonly known to the general public as “ Mono” or “ The Kissing Disease”, as this can also cause inflammation of the tonsils.
The first is a throat swab. First, the doctor takes a sterile cotton swab and swabs the back of the throat. This process collects a culture of whatever virus or bacteria are present on the tonsils so that they can identify whether the root of the condition is viral or bacterial, which helps to identify the right cause and administer the most effective treatment.
Another lab commonly used in the diagnosis of tonsillitis is called a complete blood cell count or C.B.C. for short. In this process, the doctor will obtain a sample of your blood and run labs to verify the count of different types of blood cells. This is helpful because if a specific kind of blood cell has a count that is outside of its normal range, it can be used to help identify whether the root of the condition is either bacterial or viral, thus leading to administration of the proper treatment.
It is imperative for the doctor to accurately identify the cause of this illness to be able to effectively and quickly treat it. Improper treatment can lead to the lengthening and worsening of the disease.
If your doctor finds in their diagnoses that a bacterial infection causes the condition, then he will likely prescribe you a regiment of antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed medicine for this condition is penicillin. However, many people can have allergies to penicillin, and if this is the case for you, they will prescribe an alternate antibiotic that is safe for you to use.
ALWAYS follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist whenever taking any medication, whether it is prescribed or over the counter.
The next step, if your condition is not responding to the doctor’s treatments, is surgery. Surgery to remove the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy. This is a procedure normally performed when there are recurring infections of the tonsils. If your doctor finds that your tonsils have become infected too many times, too frequently, he will refer you to a surgeon to have a tonsillectomy.
Many people that suffer from tonsillitis frequently find this procedure to be the only way to find relief from this condition. This surgery is usually an outpatient procedure and takes about two weeks on average to fully recover.
At Home TreatmentIf the doctor finds that the tonsillitis is viral, they will prescribe a regiment of treatment to follow at home. This regiment often includes the following:
- Intake of adequate amount of fluids
- Make sure to eat foods that soothe the symptoms such as warm fluids like soup or cold foods such as ice cream
- Gargle warm salt water ( one teaspoon salt to eight ounces of water)
- Use a humidifier to humidify the air in the room
- Use lozenges or cough drops
- Avoid activities that may exacerbate the symptoms such as smoking
- Use over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs and fever reducers such as Tylenol or Advil.
These are the best ways to cope with the pain that tonsillitis can cause at home. Note: Always consult a healthcare professional before taking any over the counter drugs!
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