The onset of acute tonsillitis is often associated with viral infections such as cold and flu. The following article provides information on this condition.
Tonsils are masses of lymphatic tissue that are located on either side of the throat. These are considered to be the first line of defense for the body, as they trap the pathogens that enter the oral cavity through inhaled air or ingested food. The term ‘tonsillitis’ refers to the inflammation of the tonsils. Being of an acute nature, it is characterized by a sudden and rapid onset of symptoms.
Due to being exposed to viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens that are inhaled or ingested, tonsils can become inflamed. Inflamed tonsils are quite common in children and adolescents under 15 years of age. The viruses that cause common cold and a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes are often the causal organisms for this condition.
The characteristic symptoms of this condition include:
- Red and swollen tonsils
- Sore throat
- Throat pain while swallowing
- Appearance of patches on the tonsils; white or yellow
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
- Bad breath, accompanied by hoarseness in the voice
- Pus formation on the inflamed tonsils; condition is known as an acute exudative tonsillitis
- Stiff neck
- Intense pain in the abdominal region
- In children, drooling may occur, due to inability to swallow
- Inability to swallow or eat in case of enlargement of the tonsils
If the underlying cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed. If the causal agent is a virus, one can follow certain home remedies to deal with the symptoms. Here are a few self-care measures that can be followed at home to relieve the symptoms:
- Resting is very necessary. It gives the body enough time to heal.
- Drinking plenty of fluid is equally essential. It helps in keeping the throat moist, thereby reducing the pain and dehydration. Do not drink cold water. Drink warm water and have warm soups. Avoid caffeinated drinks as these can cause dehydration.
- Gargling with lukewarm saline water several times a day helps in soothing the irritated throat and speeds up the healing period.
- Keeping the air moist also helps. For this, either a cool-air humidifier can be used, or a kettle with boiling water can be left in the room. The steam would help in keeping the air moist.
- Children can also take medicated lozenges.
- Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, pollution, paints, etc.
- The symptoms of fever and pain may disrupt sleep. So, discuss with your doctor for suitable medicines.
Following the aforementioned measures along with basic personal hygiene measures can certainly prove beneficial. In severe cases, wherein the affected person has frequent episodes with severe symptoms, tonsillectomy (surgical removal of tonsils) might be recommended.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.