When you suffer from TONSILLITIS

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On either side of your throat are two small oval shaped glands known as tonsils. These are the immune’s system first line of defence against bacteria and viruses that enter your mouth. They produce antibodies that act as filters against germs by isolating the infection and stopping it from spreading further into the body. Owing to their vulnerability, tonsils become infected when overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses causing them to swell. This swelling is what is medically referred to as tonsillitis.

On either side of your throat are two small oval shaped glands known as tonsils. These are the immune’s system first line of defence against bacteria and viruses that enter your mouth. They produce antibodies that act as filters against germs by isolating the infection and stopping it from spreading further into the body. Owing to their vulnerability, tonsils become infected when overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses causing them to swell. This swelling is what is medically referred to as tonsillitis.

Although adults too suffer from the inflammation, tonsillitis is more common in children. As a baby grows older their immunity becomes stronger and the tonsils shrink and become less important. The function of tonsils declines after puberty, which explains why some adults suffer from tonsillitis. Group A streptococcus viruses that cause common cold or influenza are said to be the main causes of tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is contagious and can be passed to another person through coughing, sneezing and sharing of household utensils such as cups and spoons, especially if not sterilised.

What are the symptoms?

The first symptom of tonsillitis is the inflamed and swollen tonsils. In severe cases the airways may be blocked. The following symptoms also act as a confirmation that you have tonsillitis.

 Painful and tender throat.

  Your tonsils will be red in colour.

  The tonsils may be coated with white or yellow streaks.

 Furry tongue.

  In some cases you will have blisters or ulcers on the throat leading to bad breathe.

  Your voice will be low and hoarse.

 Loss of appetite and difficulty when swallowing.

  Fever, chills, ear pain and headache.

Young children who suffer from tonsillitis but can’t express themselves drool a lot because it is painful to swallow saliva, refuse to eat and are unusually fussy.

Types of tonsillitis…

There are four main types of tonsillitis infections. Although their rate of recurrence is different, their symptoms are similar.

Acute tonsillitis. In this one, patients experience fever, sore throat, foul breath, difficulty and pain when swallowing and tender lymph nodes. The airways are also obstructed due to the swollen tonsils forcing them to breath through the mouth and snore.

Recurrent tonsillitis. When you have multiple episodes of acute tonsillitis in a year, doctors conclude that you are suffering from recurrent tonsillitis.

Chronic tonsillitis. Individuals often have chronic sore throat; bad breath and persistently tender cervical nodes. The patients also experience fever and sore throat.

Peritonsillar abscess. This is the most severe type of tonsillitis. On top of having all other tonsillitis symptoms, your tonsils are covered with pus filled boils. Individuals also have severe drooling, difficulty opening the mouth and low voice quality.

How to treat tonsillitis… 

In less serious cases, tonsillitis is usually treated with antibiotics. You must take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed even if the symptoms go away completely after a few days. This is to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body and also preventing your body from becoming resistant to antibiotics.

The only sure way of eliminating tonsillitis infections is through surgery. It may be deemed as the best solution especially after suffering from recurring tonsillitis, but do not forget that tonsils are an important part of the immune system. However, if tonsillitis cause upper airway obstruction and difficulty in eating, or if you do not get better after a dose of antibiotics, surgical removal of the tonsils known as tonsillectomy becomes inevitable.

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