Tonsillitis Inflammation: The Basics
Many medical issues can affect your ears, nose, and throat, which is why there are specialists that focus on these issues. One of the most common ENT issues that people suffer from is tonsillitis. Many people may be aware of a sore throat, but they may not always know whether its strep throat, tonsillitis, or simply a cold. If you have pain in your throat and tonsil inflammation and want to know the severity of your condition, here are the basics of tonsillitis inflammation.
What Are Tonsils And Adenoids
Tonsils are lymph-like soft tissue located on both sides of the back of the throat. Along with adenoids , tonsils help your body fight infection by producing antibodies to combat bacteria that enter through the mouth and nose. Approximately 600,000 people have their tonsils removed each year. Now theres a gentler procedure, and we offer it at our North Georgia offices in , , and Blue Ridge, Georgia.
How Can I Ease Sore Throat Pain
Treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause. Some general tips to relieve sore throat discomfort include:
- Drink warm fluids, such as hot tea with lemon or broth.
- Increase the total amount of fluids you drink. This keeps you hydrated and prevents your throat from getting dry.
- Gargle with salt water .
- If you are an adult, keep your throat moist with throat lozenges, ice chips, or hard candies. Do not give lozenges or hard candies to children under two years of age. They are a choking hazard. Instead, give your child a popsicle.
- Use a numbing throat spray or cold liquids to reduce pain.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to rooms you spend time in, especially your bedroom when you are sleeping.
- Get plenty of rest — at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible over-the-counter medicines to try. Never give aspirin to children because it can cause Reyes syndrome. Do not give cough or cold medicines to children under four years of age unless your doctor tells you to.
More specific sore throat treatments based on its cause include the following:
To prevent infections that cause sore throat, wash your hands often , stay away from people who are sick and sneezing and coughing, and dont share utensils, food or drink with people who are sick.
Symptoms Of A Sore Throat
A sore throat means that your throat hurts and is irritated, swollen, or scratchy. It usually hurts worse when you swallow. Depending on the cause of your sore throat, symptoms include:
- White spots on your throat or tonsils
- Red, swollen tonsils
- Swollen glands in your neck
- Skin rash
In some cases, additional symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Joint or muscle pain
Making A Decision About Tonsillectomy For Children
Tonsillectomy is mainly done in children to treat snoring, obstructive sleep apnoea or frequent tonsillitis. If symptoms are mild, a wait and see approach is recommended as problems often get better as children get older.
You and your doctor are in the best position to decide if this operation will help your child.
Safer Care Victoria has developed a Making a decision about tonsillectomy fact sheet to support parents in making an informed decision about tonsillectomy for their child together with their doctor.
Safer Care Victoria have also developed several videos where parents share their thoughts about how they made the decision to have their childs tonsils removed.
Why Choose Cooper To Treat Pharyngitis And Tonsillitis In Children
Coopers expert otolaryngologists have advanced fellowship training in diagnosing and treating the broad range of conditions that can affect the ears, nose and throat.
They have extensive experience treating routine and complex pharyngitis and tonsillitis in children, and earn consistently high marks when it comes to patient and parent satisfaction.
Should your child require a tonsillectomy, our ENT specialists have the surgical expertise to perform this procedure, with a track record of successful outcomes.
Strep Throat Is Lurking
Though its not as common in adults, strep throat is a bacterial infection that can cause swollen tonsils and inflammation, says Dr. Zalvan. Besides difficulty swallowing, you might also experience bad breath and have trouble opening your mouth.
Left untreated, bacterial tonsillitis can lead to a more complicated infection that causes pus to collect around the capsule of the tonsil. This infection may require intravenous antibiotics and a drainage procedure to remove the abscess, says Brad DeSilva, MD, otolaryngologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Because strep is sometimes associated with sinusitis, ear infections, and , it can be hard to tell if your swollen tonsils are the victim of a viral or bacterial infection. If symptoms persist, Dr. DeSilva recommends having your doc run a rapid strep test to determine if antibiotics are needed.
Home Remedies For Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is very contagious, and its best if it is taken care of quickly. Home remedies for tonsillitis include:
1. Salt Water
The best home remedy for tonsils is salt water. The warm water will help to kill the bacteria and soothe your throat and tonsils. It will also reduce the inflammation. Follow the steps given below to treat tonsils with salt water:
- Mix one teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water
- Gargle the mixture and spit it out
- Repeat as often as possible for best results
Lemons have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help fight infection and the inflammation of the tonsils. Lemon also has high levels of Vitamin C which will improve your bodys natural resistance to infections. Heres how to use lemon for tonsillitis:
- Mix juice of one lemon, one teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of salt in a glass of lukewarm water
- Drink twice a day slowly for best results
Cinnamon possesses antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms. It also helps reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Heres how you can use cinnamon for tonsillitis:
- Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a glass of warm water
- Stir in two teaspoons of honey
- Sip it slowly while its warm
Drink it two to three times in a day for best results.
- Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of salt water or hot water
- Gargle the mixture as many times a day as possible, especially before bed.
When To See A Doctor
If you have swollen tonsils that last for more than one or two days, see your doctor.
You should also seek medical treatment if your tonsils are so swollen that you have trouble breathing or sleeping, or if theyre accompanied by a high fever or severe discomfort.
Asymmetrically sized tonsils can be associated with tonsil cancer. If you have one tonsil thats larger than the other, talk with your doctor about possible causes.
Swollen Or Irritated Tonsils
If you have tonsillitis or inflammation of the tonsils, youre more likely to develop tonsil stones.
Tonsils are like sponges that absorb bacteria, microorganisms, and fungi from the air, food, and water you bring into your body; which is why I often recommend using a to flush them out regularly.
When bacteria settle in the folds of your tonsils, they get irritated and try to fight off the infection, often forming tonsil stones in the process.
If you have enlarged or tonsils, theyre more likely to trap bacteria since swollen tonsils have more crevices and craters than smaller, healthy tonsils. Tonsillitis is also a sign that your immunity has decreased, making them much more prone to infections like tonsil stones.
The more creases and crevices your tonsils have, and the larger they are, the more likely you are to develop tonsil stones.
There are some medical treatments, such as laser and coblation cryptolysis, that reduce the number of crypts or crevices in your tonsils.
Your Tonsils Might Be To Blame For These Annoying Health Issues
Like your snoring, for one.
Sure, you might know vaguely where your tonsils are . But do you know what your tonsils doand would you recognize if they were causing you problems? Tonsil issues are actually somewhat common: In fact, close to 300,000 people over the age of 15 have theirs removed each year, according to research published in JAMA OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery. Here’s what you need to know about your tonsilsand what you should do if they’re causing issues like dragon breath or .
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the tonsils are part of your bodys lymphatic system, which helps fight off infection. Since they are located in the back of your throat, tonsils are often the first line of defense against like viruses and bacteria that enter the body through the nose or mouth. Your tonsils are designed both to trap and prevent germs from getting farther into your body as well as to sound the alarm to the immune system to produce antibodies when there is an invader.
But if they get overworked or overwhelmed, tonsils themselves can get infected, causing them to swell and get irritated, a condition called tonsillitis. Often caused by , bacteria, or viruses like streptococcus or Epstein-Barr, youll likely know something is wrong because the back of your throat will be sore and painful. However, tonsils can also play a supporting role in a number of other surprising conditions you may be suffering from, including the following:
How Is Tonsillitis Treated
If your tonsillitis is caused by strep bacteria, you may need treatment with antibiotics. Tonsillitis caused by a virus usually goes away on its own. Treatment includes self-care at home, such as over-the-counter pain medicine. Surgery to remove the tonsils is only used when there are serious problems with the tonsils.
Swollen Tonsils Caused By Allergies
Few allergies trigger swollen tonsils as a sole symptom. However, if you have pollen, fiber, food or other allergies then swollen tonsils might occur alongside other familiar symptoms. In some cases this will subside after a few hours.However, if your allergy triggers a serious reaction, it may swell the tonsils and throat to a point where they restrict breathing.
When To Call Your Doctor If You Have Swollen Lymph Nodes
If your swollen lymph nodes come and go and dont get significantly large, then youre probably OK to wait and see if allergy medication helps, Dr. Besser says.
But, if the swelling persists for several days, doesnt seem to be getting better, and is even getting worse, its a good idea to talk to your doctor. Ditto if you develop a fever or if you are seriously uncomfortable around your lymph nodes. That could be a sign of infection, Dr. Mehdizadeh says.
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Symptoms Of Enlarged Tonsils And Adenoids
Most enlarged tonsils and adenoids cause no symptoms. However, enlarged tonsils or adenoids can give the voice a stuffy-nose quality . Children with enlarged tonsils or adenoids may have an abnormally shaped palate and position of the teeth. Children may also tend to breathe through their mouth. Enlarged tonsils can also cause , bad breath, and .
Why Do Lymph Nodes Swell
When a lymph node is trying to filter out pathogens, it can swell or enlarge while it goes to work, the ACS explains. Usually, only one area of lymph nodes swells at once, and the most common areas for lymph nodes to swell are in the neck, groin, and armpits. Theres actually a medical term for this: lymphadenopathy.
Swollen lymph nodes are a signal that something is off, but its usually paired with other symptoms that will help you and your doctor figure out what, exactly, is going on in your body.
How Long Does It Last
It can be easy to confuse tonsillitis and a common strep or sore throat, but the easy distinction is how long they both last. Tonsillitis can last over a week, while you may only suffer from a sore throat for a few days. If you do notice that you have tonsillitis for a decent amount of time, you should go see the doctor for further treatment.
When Its A Sore Throat
When its a sore throat caused by a cold virus, you will often have other cold symptoms that may include:
- Runny nose.
- Red or watery eyes.
You do not have a cough with strep. If youre coughing, that typically means no strep, says Daniel Allan, MD. Also, when you look in the throat of a person with a sore throat caused by a cold virus, you typically do not see pus or exudate in the back of the throat.
usually take several days to develop and typicallygo away on their own within five to seven days, Dr. Allan says.
There is no cure for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, but you can do things to make yourself feel more comfortable: Drinking warm liquids, gargling with warm salt water, sucking on ice chips, or takingan over-the-counter medicine can provide relief foryour symptoms.
You also can speed your recovery by gettingenough rest, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids.
A Look Inside The Throat
and are collections of lymphoid tissue that may have a role in helping the body fight infection. They trap bacteria and viruses entering through the throat and produce antibodies. The tonsils and adenoids are largest in children who are 2 to 6 years of age.
The tonsils are located on both sides of the back of the throat. The adenoids are located higher and further back, where the nasal passages connect with the throat. The tonsils are visible through the mouth, but the adenoids are not.
How Is A Sore Throat Diagnosed
Your doctor will do a physical exam. They will look at the back of your throat. Your doctor may swab the back of your throat. This is called a throat culture. It is done to collect a sample of bacteria. This also is used in a rapid strep test. This is a quick test to diagnose strep throat. The test wont tell if your sore throat is caused by something other than strep. The results of a throat culture takes between 24 and 48 hours. If your doctor thinks you may have mono, they will probably do a blood test.
Causes Of Enlarged Tonsils And Adenoids
Some preschool and adolescent children have relatively large tonsils and adenoids that are not due to any problem. However, tonsils and adenoids can become enlarged because they become infected with a virus or bacteria that cause throat infections . In addition, allergies , irritants, and, possibly, gastroesophageal reflux also can cause the tonsils and adenoids to enlarge. Ongoing exposure to children who have bacterial or viral infections, such as children at child care centers, increases the risk of infection.
When enlarged, tonsils sometimes interfere with breathing or swallowing, and adenoids may block the nose or the eustachian tubes that connect the back of the throat to the ears. Usually, tonsils and adenoids return to normal size once the infection is over. Sometimes they remain enlarged, particularly in children who have had frequent or chronic infections. Although extremely rare, cancer sometimes causes enlarged tonsils or adenoids in children.
How Pharyngitis And Tonsillitis Are Treated
Treatment depends on whats causing your childs infection, the symptoms, your childs age and general health, and how severe the condition is.
If your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed . If bacteria are not the cause of the infection, treatment will focus on making your child comfortable. This may include:
- Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain; other medicines or treatments may be recommended for severe pain
- Increasing how much your child drinks; some teas have ingredients that soothe the throat
- Eating smooth, cool foods such as gelatin, ice cream, and ice pops
- Gargling with salt water
- Sucking on throat drops, lozenges, or hard candies
Tonsillitis may also require a hospital stay if enlarged tonsils are blocking the airways, making breathing difficult. In some children with recurrent tonsillitis, your healthcare provider may recommend that your child have his or her tonsils removed . Your child’s healthcare provider will likely refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist .
Itching Or Burning And Swollen Tonsils
- Medical Author: Melinda Ratini, DO
Reviewed on 6/15/2020
A throat infection caused by a virus or can make your swell. can do the same and may cause an , burning throat. If you are having an allergic reaction to a medicine or food, or something in your environment, it can also leave you with an , sore throat.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
Health Complications Associated With Swollen Tonsils
While the may occasionally become swollen when you have an infection, for most people the swelling goes down in a few weeks. For some people, however, the swelling becomes a chronic condition and can lead to other health complications if not treated.
Swollen tonsils are commonly caused by an infection, bacteria, or viruses such as:
- Strep throat
- Herpes simplex virus
In some individuals, the swelling in their tonsils becomes a chronic condition that does not go away. Others may have recurrent tonsillitis, a condition in which they have frequent infections that cause their tonsils to become swollen on a regular basis. The large size of the tonsils can lead to other health risks and complications.
While swollen tonsils alone can cause complications, each different infection will also have other complications that are not related to the tonsils. For example, untreated strep throat can lead to kidney and heart problems.
This article will cover complications specifically related to the size of the tonsils due to swelling. Other than infections, swollen tonsils can also be caused by tonsil stones or, more rarely, cancer of the tonsils.
These are the typical symptoms and possible complications from swollen tonsils:
What Are Common Tonsil Issues
One of the most common conditions affecting tonsils is . This is an inflammation of the tonsils accompanied by other symptoms such as sore throat, white or yellow coating, and a fever. Tonsilitis appears in three forms: acute , recurrent , and chronic . Another issue for your tonsils is tonsil stones, or tonsiliths. These pieces of yellowish-white hard material cause many of the same symptoms of tonsillitis but are caused by debris caught in the tonsillar crypts .
What Else Could It Be
There are plenty of other possible causes for your sore throat, Dr. Curtis said. Did you recently get a new pet and are now experiencing a sore throat? Could be allergies. Here are some more tips for responding to a sore throat:
- If you also have difficulty swallowing, you should be seen by your physician. If you experience shortness of breath, you should be evaluated. If you have a single lump on one side of your neck, you should get evaluated.
- If your cold symptoms turn out to be due to an actual cold, you need some fluids and rest and you should be back up in a couple days.
- If youve got a sore throat with a fever, but no runny nose or cough, you might have strep throat. Check for exudate on the tonsils a secretion caused by inflammation of the tonsils and tender nodes on the front of your neck. Contact your physician.
- If your sore throat is accompanied by a low-grade fever and extreme fatigue, it could be mononucleosis, which is most common in people in their teens and 20s. Contact your physician.
- another coronavirus example can cause a sore throat that is typically very abrupt, and commonly joined by body aches, fevers and headache.
The main point, according to Dr. Curtis, is that using internet search to diagnose yourself is not the safest idea. You should contact your physician if you have any questions or concerns about your health and any symptoms you experience.
When To Seek Medical Help
Postnasal drip can be annoying, but it usually isn’t dangerous, as Harvard Medical School explains. However, there are some circumstances when you should seek medical help. See your doctor or dentist if your symptoms get worse or if they aren’t relieved by home remedies. You should also see your doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as an unexplained fever or bloody mucus.
Allergy season has arrived, and while you may experience a sore throat from allergies, rest assured that there are many home remedies that can help to soothe your symptoms. If these home remedies aren’t enough, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
Bacteria Viruses And Tonsillitis
When tonsillitis is caused by bacteria , it is usually a streptococcus bacterium. It is not easy to tell when tonsillitis is caused by bacteria your doctor may do a throat swab and send it for testing.There are many viruses that can cause tonsillitis. Antibiotics do not help if the tonsillitis is caused by a viral infection.
Diagnosing The Cause Of Uvulitis
If you have fever or swelling of your throat, see your doctor. This is most likely a sign that a condition that requires medical treatment is causing your uvulitis. Be prepared to give a complete medical history to your doctor. Tell your doctor:
- about all the over-the-counter and prescription medications you take
- if youre a smoker or you chew tobacco
- if youve recently tried new foods
- if youve been exposed to chemicals or unusual substances
- about your other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, fever, or dehydration
Your doctor may be able to diagnose the condition through a physical exam. Its likely your doctor will swab your throat for secretions to test for a bacterial or fungal infection. Your doctor may also swab your nostrils to test for influenza. They may need to test your blood to help identify or rule out some other infectious agents.
If results from those tests are inconclusive, you may need to see an allergist. Blood and skin tests can help identify foods or other substances that cause a reaction.
When you have something like the common cold, swelling usually clears up on its own without treatment. Otherwise, treatment will depend on the cause. Usually, treating the underlying cause will resolve the uvulitis.
Does Removal Of Adenoids Help Allergies
Adenoiditis is treated with antibiotics. However, if your child has frequent infections, including ear and sinus infections, or antibiotics do not help, or if your child has ongoing breathing problems, surgery may be needed to remove the adenoids. This procedure is called an adenoidectomy.
do adenoids cause allergies? Because adenoids trap germs that enter the body, adenoid tissue sometimes temporarily swells as it tries to fight an infection. Allergies also can make them get bigger. The swelling sometimes gets better. But sometimes, adenoids can get infected .
Thereof, does removing tonsils help with allergies?
Adenoid, Tonsil Removal Linked to Increased Risk of Respiratory, Allergic Disease Later. When physicians remove adenoids and tonsils to treat recurrent tonsillitis or middle ear infections, that timing coincides with ages at which the development of the immune system is sensitive, the researchers said.
What are the side effects of having your adenoids removed?
However, the possible side effects and risks of an adenoidectomy include:
- swallowing problems.
Why Have Your Tonsils Removed
Tonsils and adenoids can cause health problems when they become infected or obstruct normal breathing or nasal/sinus drainage. Recurring infections in the tonsils can lead to chronic tonsillitis. Symptoms include fever, persistent sore throat, redness of the tonsil area, yellow discharge on the tonsils, and tender lymph nodes on both sides of the neck. In addition to blocking the throat, enlarged tonsils may interfere with normal breathing, nasal sinus drainage, sleeping, swallowing and speaking. They may also aggravate snoring and can even cause an alarming condition called sleep apnea, which involves an occasional stoppage of breathing.