Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils (two oval-shaped masses of tissue located at the back of the throat) typically caused by infection with common viruses. In some cases, tonsillitis is also caused by bacteria. Symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and swollen and red tonsils. Treatment for tonsillitis depends on the cause. Viral tonsillitis often resolves independently and is managed with rest, hydration, and pain relief medications. Bacterial tonsillitis, particularly strep throat, is usually treated with antibiotics. Let’s understand the condition in detail here.
Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils, usually due to an infection with a virus or bacteria. Symptoms may include sore throat, enlarged tonsils, and fever. In some cases, there may be white or yellow spots on the tonsils. A healthcare provider can diagnose tonsillitis through a physical examination of the throat and neck. In some cases, a throat swab may be taken to determine the cause of the infection, especially if it's suspected to be bacterial. If the cause of the infection is found to be bacterial, antibiotics may be prescribed. Some individuals may need a tonsillectomy in which the tonsils are removed surgically.
Infections of the tonsils, typically from viruses or bacteria, result in tonsillitis. The main reasons are as follows:
Though there are many other viruses and bacteria that may cause tonsillitis from the above, these are the most common ones. The disease can easily be spread from one person to another by airborne droplets (when a person breathes in the bacteria or virus after an infected person has coughed, sneezed, or even breathed) or by direct contact (e.g. when a person touches the infected area on another person and then touches his mouth or nose).
There are a wide range of symptoms of tonsillitis. Common tonsillitis symptoms include:
The primary diagnostic criteria for tonsillitis are a clinical examination and the patient's symptoms. The diagnostic procedure often entails the following:
The severity of the symptoms and the kind of tonsillitis (bacterial or viral) determine the course of treatment. The standard treatment options are as follows:
1. Self-care Measures:
Surgery can remove the tonsils. This may be considered if:
Tonsillitis can result in problems, some of which can be very serious if it is not adequately managed. The following are potential complications of tonsillitis:
Keeping yourself away from the viruses and bacteria that might cause tonsillitis as possible is the main step in prevention. Here are some doable methods to stop tonsillitis from starting and spreading:
Staying up to date with vaccinations can also reduce the risk of certain infections that may lead to tonsillitis. Overall, these preventive measures can help minimize the likelihood of contracting this uncomfortable condition.
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While tonsillitis is more common in children, adults can also contract the illness.
It's recommended to stay home, especially during the initial days when symptoms are severe and the risk of spreading the infection is high. If it's bacterial and treated with antibiotics, it's often suggested to wait 24 hours after starting treatment before returning.
Yes, even after treatment, it's possible to contract tonsillitis again if exposed to the causative agents.
Viral tonsillitis typically resolves on its own within a week. Bacterial tonsillitis treated with antibiotics usually starts improving within 24-48 hours of starting the medication.
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