Inflammation of tonsils is called tonsillitis. Tonsils are two oval shaped pads at the back of the throat. The main function of tonsils is to help fight infections. They contain B-cells, and also produce anti-bodies to fight numerous infections. Inflammation interferes with their ability to do so. Tonsillitis is a common occurrence, with more than 10 million cases reported every year in India. Tonsillitis affects ages 4 through 40. Children are the most susceptible to this condition, and cases of patients over 40 years of age are extremely rare.
Tonsillitis has different types, but common symptoms of all include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty and pain swallowing
- Bad breath
- Scratchy voice
- Tonsils that are visibly red and swollen
- Tonsils with visible white or yellow spots
- Stiff neck
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if you or your loved ones experience any of the above mentioned symptoms. Always trust premier medical institutions like Paras Hospitals group, which have specialized departments for the treatment and care of this condition.
Causes and Risk Factors
Tonsillitis is caused by bacterial or viral infections. If caused by bacteria, a common cause is the bacteria Streptococcus.If it’s viral, the causing agent could be adenovirus, influenza virus or Epstein-Barr virus. Risk factors include:
- Age: Children between the ages of 5-15 years are at the highest risk of developing tonsillitis.
- Frequent contact with germs: Personal hygiene is important for prevention of such conditions.
Treatment and Management
Tonsillitis is not a very severe problem, ad typically gets better within 7 to 10 days, with proper rest and care. Care strategies include:
- Taking rest
- Taking adequate fluids
- Saltwater gargling
- Fever medication to relieve fever
However, if the symptoms are severe, a doctor should be consulted, who will prescribe antibiotics if the condition is bacterial. In cases of chronic or recurring tonsillitis, surgery is needed to remove the tonsils, called tonsillectomy.