Tonsillitis (Infected Tonsils)
The tonsils are two soft masses of lymphoid tissue (lymph nodes) located on either side at the rear of the throat. Tonsils help the body fight infections by forming antibodies that work to nullify disease-causing microbes such as viruses and bacteria. Medical research has proved, that the removal of tonsils (even adenoids, which are also lymphoid tissue like tonsils but located behind the nasal cavity) in children has no adverse effect on their immunity to diseases and infections.
Tonsillitis is nothing but an infection in tonsils. It is a very common condition.
Causes of Tonsillitis
- A bacterial infection such as strep throat
- Viral infection such as the common cold
- Children come into close contact with others at school and play, exposing them to a variety of viruses and bacteria, thus making them vulnerable to the germs that cause tonsillitis.
- Sore throat
- Pain in swallowing
- Bad Breath
- Painful and swollen lymph nodes in front of the neck
- Ear pain when making a swallowing motion
Precautions & Treatments
- A doctor can diagnose tonsils through physical checkup. If an adult is suffering from recurrent tonsillitis then the doctor might take a CT scan of nose and paranasal sinuses.
- In most cases acute tonsillitis responds well to medications and clear up in a few days.
- A competent ENT surgeon can remove tonsils using conventional cold instruments. But nowadays there are many more advanced medical technologies that can be used for tonsil removal with minimal blood loss. Some of these technologies include Coblation, Laser, and Radiofrequency.
- Surgical removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be advised under following conditions: –
- When a child is getting tonsillitis with the following frequency – at least 7 episodes in one single year, or at least 5 episodes per year for two years running, or 3 episodes per year for three years running
- In adults though, instead of counting the number of tonsillitis episodes per year, focus is placed on the severity, recurrence, and pain the patient undergoes to advise surgical removal.
- When tonsils and adenoids have become so enlarged that it is causing sleeping disorders like snoring, breath holding or sleep apnoea, or sinusitis, or repeat bouts of ear infections, or dental abnormalities, or painful swallowing.
- If a patient is suffering from severe infection, or is at risk of severe infection complications such as neck abscess, peritonsillar abscess, history of streptococcal complications such as rheumatic heart disease and glomerulonephritis, then ENT physician recommends tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
- When the doctor suspects presence of tumor or malignancy in tonsils
Following are some home cures which can be added to treatment regimen:-
- Gargling with saline – Good old saline or salty water is excellent for clearing mucous from your throat. Take some in a glass and gargle with it 2-3 times a day.
Lozenges and throat sprays – These help by moisturizing and coating the throat.
- Warm beverages – Soup or tea with honey or ginger-tulsi tea can bring soothing relief to your throat.
- Cold foods –ice cream can help ease tonsillitis pain
- Once removed, tonsils (or tonsillitis) cannot come back. But in case, some portions of tonsils are left behind in the throat post-surgery, there is a chance of infection and enlargement in them.