Before we start to have some knowledge about Tonsillitis, let us first learn a bit about Tonsils. Tonsils are the pair of tissue pads located at the back of throat (one on each side – left and right). They are oval in shape and are easily visible with the mouth wide open. Any kind of inflammation in Tonsils is termed as Tonsillitis.
In most of the cases, it can be detected by physical examination as tonsils get swollen and are easily visible. In addition to it, patient may also complain of sore throat and feels difficulty or pain while swallowing. Physician may also observe tender lymph nodes that develop on sides of the neck.
Tonsillitis is caused by bacterial or viral infection. However, in most of the cases it is observed that it is caused by viral infection. Hence, it is required to diagnose the exact cause of Tonsillitis before starting the treatment. There are many effective medications available for this infection.
In a very severe or acute case where Tonsillitis occurs very frequently, physicians suggest to get the Tonsils removed surgically. It happens when the patient is not showing any improvement even after undergoing long phase of treatment. Prolonged infection may cause further complications and in order to prevent that physicians suggest going for surgery. It occurs in a very few cases.
In most of the cases, Tonsillitis occurs in children from the age of 7 to 12 years. However, it may also affect adults or elderly people whose immune system is weak, but the chances are fewer. Now, let us have a look at the common symptoms and signs of Tonsillitis.
- Tonsils are swollen and appear reddish due to inflammation
- Yellow or white patches develop on the tonsils
- Sore throat
- Difficulty in swallowing accompanied with pain and irritation
- Tender glands (in the neck) get enlarged.
- A scratchy voice
- Children also experience stomach ache
- Bad breath
- Headache and Stiff neck
As Tonsillitis occur most commonly in children who are much younger. In such cases, children are not able explain the actual symptoms. Physicians diagnose Tonsillitis by observing following signs:
- Frequent drooling caused due to difficulty in swallowing
- Children avoid eating food
- Children get irritated and upset easily
Indications that tell you to see a doctor
Not every pain in neck is Tonsillitis. Also, Tonsillitis are not severe in initial phase. So, it is very much important to be aware of indications that help you decide when to see the doctor? Let us have look at some of such indications:
You should call your doctor when you see following indications:
- When patient experiences sore throat for more than 48 hours.
- Pain while swelling persists for more than 48 hours.
- When patient starts feeling weakness and gets irritated easily.
Below are the indications that call for a immediate help:
- When patient experiences difficulty in breathing
- It is really hard or impossible to swallow
- Excessive or frequent drooling
Tonsillitis is mainly caused due to viral infection. However, there are some bacteria also that cause Tonsillitis. Children or elderly people are more prone to Tonsillitis as their immune system is not that strong. The viruses that cause Tonsillitis are as follows:
- Influenza virus
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Parainfluenza viruses
- Herpes simplex virus
The bacterium that causes Tonsillitis belongs to group A streptococcus and is called Streptococcus pyogenes. This bacterium also causes strep throat most commonly in children.
These bacteria and virus get transmitted through body fluids (such as through saliva, while kissing).
Tonsillitis occurs mostly in..
Not all of us are equally prone to Tonsillitis. It occurs in children and people of particular age group or living in particular environmental circumstances. Let us see who can be more prone to tonsillitis:
- Children from the age of 3 to 7 years are more prone to viral tonsillitis.
- Children from the age of 5 to 15 years are more prone to bacterial
- People who overwork
- People who frequently visit or mostly stay in crowded places
- Elderly people
Why do tonsils get infected?
Tonsils are responsible for protecting us from any infection caused by virus or bacteria that enter our body through our mouth. These are also the first tissue of defense line that comes in contact with such virus and bacteria and therefore are more prone to infection. The immune system of tonsils is a bit low in children and elderly people. Similarly when a child reaches puberty, the immune system of tonsils declines a bit. This is not usual but it is the reason why tonsillitis sometimes occurs in adults as well.
The factors that increase the risk of having tonsillitis are known as risk factors. So here we will have a look at factors that increase the risk or make someone more prone to Tonsillitis.
- Young Age – It is found that tonsillitis occur more often in children lying in the age group of 5 -15 years. Both bacterial and viral tonsillitis may occur in this age. However, chances of having viral tonsillitis are more in younger age as compared to bacterial tonsillitis.
- Exposure to germs – People who spend most of their time in crowded places or school going children are more exposed to germs. Hence, chances of having tonsillitis are more in such people.
When the symptoms like swelling and inflammation in tonsils persist for longer duration (such as in chronic tonsillitis) they may result in further complications.
Below are some of the most common complications seen in such cases
- Patient experiences difficulty in breathing
- Development of peritonsillar abscess. In this situation, pus starts to accumulate behind the tonsils.
- Breathing is disrupted during sleep (also called as “obstructive sleep apnea”)
- Occurrence of Tonsillar Cellulitis. It is the situation when the surrounding tissue also gets infected.
Tonsillitis caused by group A streptococcus or another strain of streptococcus bacteria may result in such complication if it is not treated completely. This step infection may show following indications:
- Rheumatic fever – It may affect various tissues such as joints, heart and other tissues.
- Poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis – In this condition, kidneys are affected and their normal functioning is hampered.
The best way of preventing this infection is to avoid exposure to virus or bacteria. It can be achieved by following hygienic practices such as:
- Washing hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coming from crowded places like schools, after using washroom and before eating.
- Children should be advised to avoid using water bottles or drinking glasses used by other students. Also they must be advised to avoid sharing their food and eating from other’s lunch boxes.
- If the child is diagnosed with tonsillitis, his/her toothbrush should be isolated and should not get in contact with other toothbrushes.
Once your child is diagnosed with tonsillitis, you must follow following practices to avoid spreading of infection:
- Prevent your child from going outside and make him/her stay at home.
- Ask your child to cover his nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, using his/her hands or handkerchief.
- Also ask him/her to wash the hands after sneezing or coughing.
- Before sending your child back to school gets a confirmation from the doctor.
There are various methods of diagnosing the tonsillitis such as by physical examination, by examining throat swab and by Complete Blood count. Let us have look at these methods in detail:
The physician performs following steps to diagnose tonsillitis by physical examination:
- Watching the sites of infection such as mouth, nose or ears using a torch to detect any redness or swelling on these sites.
- Gently touching the glands from outside to observe any swelling.
- Observing any obstruction in breathing using stethoscope.
- Looking for spleen enlargement as it also causes inflammation in the tonsils
Back of the throat is rubbed by a sterile swab is rubbed to get the sample of fluid and secretion. This sample is then tested for presence of streptococcal bacteria. It takes 24-48 hours to get the results of the test. If result is positive, it means that child is suffering from bacterial tonsillitis and if the result is negative, then the child must be suffering from viral infection.
Complete blood cell count (CBC)
This test also helps in diagnosing if there is any infection and also to determine whether it is an bacterial or viral infection.
Treatment in Homeopathy
Homeopathy is considered as very effective in treatment of tonsillitis. There are various homeopathic remedies that are extremely effective in curing both acute and chronic tonsillitis. You can easily get rid of this problem by homeopathic treatment and thus can avoid surgery or side effects by various antibiotics. There are so many effective homeopathic medicines available for treatment of tonsillitis.
These medicines are prescribed based on the causes of tonsillitis and the nature of the tonsillitis. Homeopathic treatment has been very much effective in treating tonsillitis in children of all ages and also in adults. The treatment has no side effects and it focuses on eliminating the root cause of the infection rather than providing the symptomatic relief. Dr Choudhary has experience of treating thousands of tonsillitis patients and has saved hundreds of tonsillitis children who were advised surgical removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy}.