Tonsils are the two lymph nodes located on each side of the back of the throat. They function as a defense mechanism and to help prevent the body from getting an infection. When tonsils become infected, the condition is called tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the tonsils. Sometimes along with tonsillitis, the adenoids are also swollen.
There are three types of Tonsillitis
- Acute tonsillitis – these symptoms usually last 3 or 4 days but can last up to 2 weeks
- Recurrent tonsillitis – this is when a person gets tonsillitis several times in a year
- Chronic tonsillitis – this is when a person has a long-term tonsil infection
The main symptoms of tonsillitis are inflamed and swollen tonsils, sometimes severe enough to make it hard to breathe through the mouth. Other symptoms include;
- Throat pain or tenderness
- Red tonsils
- A white or yellow coating on the tonsils
- Painful blisters or ulcers on the throat
- Loss of appetite
- Ear pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Swollen glands in the neck or jaw
- Fever and chills
- Bad breath
- A scratchy or muffled voice
- Stiff neck
Tonsils are the body’s first line of defense against illness. They produce white blood cells that help fight infection.
The tonsils combat bacteria and viruses that enter your mouth and nose. However, tonsils are also vulnerable to infection from these invaders.
Tonsillitis can be caused by a virus, such as the common cold, or by a bacterial infection, such as strep throat.
If a person cannot treat tonsillitis at home, a range of treatment options are available
- Medications – People can use over-the-counter (OTC) pain relieving medications to numb the symptoms of tonsillitis.
- Removal – Previously, doctors regularly recommended surgery to treat tonsillitis. Today, a doctor will not recommend a tonsillectomy unless the condition is chronic and recurring.
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