A tonsil is a group of oval-shaped tissue present at the back of the throat. They are the part of the lymphatic system which acts as a barrier for preventing the germs and foreign particles that would cause infection in the mouth. When the tonsils are exposed to bacterial or viral infections, the patient may experience fever, difficulty swallowing, and pain in the mouth.
Swollen tonsils are also known as tonsillitis which means inflammation of tonsils. When the tonsils are affected by bacteria, viruses, or any other foreign particles, they tend to swell up. Inflammation of tonsils causes pain in the mouth, and sometimes bleeding may occur. They occur in children at frequent intervals. They are mainly of two types, i.e., acute and chronic tonsillitis. Acute tonsillitis is the type of tonsillitis that occurs due to acute bacterial or viral infection. Chronic tonsillitis is tonsillitis that arises due to persistent infection of the tonsil, leading to tonsil stone formation.
The symptoms of tonsillitis are as follows-
- Collection of pus behind the tonsil
- Bleeding in mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Bad breath
- Dry throat
- Snoring and disturbed sleep
- Upset stomach
The different types of tonsillitis are caused due to various reasons. Some of them are:
- Acute tonsillitis: These are caused due to viral or bacterial infection. The example of bacterial and viral infection-causing microorganisms are as follows:
- Measles virus: It is caused by morbillivirus. It affects the respiratory system by infecting saliva and mucus.
- Cytomegalovirus– It is a type of herpes virus that causes tonsillitis in immune-deficient patients.
- Influenza virus
- Epstein bar virus– They cause acute mononucleosis and are responsible for enlarging tonsils.
- Chronic tonsillitis- They occur due to frequent infection of bacterial or viral agents. A small stone-like formation takes place in the tonsils.
- Physical examination: It includes analysis of the tonsils and other symptoms. The doctor may check for:
- Redness and inflammation of tonsils.
- Any discharge from tonsils.
- Is there any pus formation or not.
- Diagnostic test: The following diagnostic test may be performed:
- Complete blood check- For detection of viral or bacterial infection.
- Throat swab test- Sample of discharge is taken through this test.
- Epstein bar antibodies- Help in the diagnosis of mononucleosis.
- Antibiotics- If a bacterial infection causes tonsillitis, antibiotics are prescribed. Penicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic for tonsillitis in children. In addition, other drugs such as cefixime, cefetamet are used as antibiotics during the treatment of tonsillitis.
- Home treatment- Tonsillitis can also be treated at home by the following methods:
- Drink plenty of water
- Taking rest
- Eating healthy and warm things
- Anti-inflammatory drugs- Due to inflammation, the tonsil gets inflamed. With the help of anti-inflammatory medications, the inflammation of the tonsil can be decreased. Drugs such as ibuprofen can be used to treat inflammation.
- Antipyretic drugs- Fever usually occurs in children suffering from tonsillitis. So to reduce fever, medicines such as paracetamol can be used.
- Surgery– If tonsillitis does not respond to antibiotics drugs, the surgical method known as tonsillectomy is used. It is done only in case tonsillitis recurs in the patient more than 3-4 times a year. This method is not used in children. During this, the tonsil is removed so the infection can be controlled.
- The following methods can prevent tonsillitis-
- Washing hands after sneezing or coughing.
- Do not share food and other eatables with the infected person.
- Replace or change the toothbrush of the child every week.
- Use a mask to protect from viral infection from sneezing and coughing.
- Gargle with saltwater.
- Drink a sufficient amount of liquid.
- Maintain good oral care.