Tonsillitis

Do you have fever, a painful sore throat and difficulty swallowing? Read more about tonsillitis infection, an infection of your tonsils, and tonisillitis causes.

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About Tonsilitis

Tonsillitis is a bacterial or viral infection of the tonsils — the two oval-shaped fleshy pads found at the back of your throat.

Tonsilitis: Symptoms and Signs

Common signs and symptoms include: 

    Sore throat
    Difficulty and pain in swallowing
    White patches appear on tonsils
    Headache
    Fever and chills
    Enlarged lymph nodes found at the jaws and neck
    Loss of voice
    Children may complain of abdominal pain

Tonsilitis: Causes 

Tonsillitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection of your tonsils. An infection arising from a specific type of bacteria known as group A streptococcus is also commonly known as a strep throat.

Tonsilitis: Diagnosis

Before treatment, your doctor will check for signs of infection, such as redness and pus from the tonsils. To diagnose your tonsillitis infection, your doctor may conduct the following tests:

A throat swab, where a sterile swab is rubbed over the back of your throat to collect a sample of secretions. The sample is then sent to the laboratory to check for signs of streptococcus 
A blood test known as complete blood cell count (CBC) to identify the cause of the infection. A high white blood cell count or the presence of abnormal cells is an indication of a viral infection

Tonsilitis: Treatment Options

Tonsillitis infections caused by a virus are typically treated with home remedies. If the tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Do finish the full course of antibiotics even if you already feel better as it may otherwise cause the infection to recur.

Some examples where medication is prescribed:

If you test positive for strep throat, you will need to complete at least 24 hours of antibiotic treatment before returning to work or school
If your child who is suffering from tonsillitis has difficulty swallowing, antibiotics may be given through an injection
In some cases, treatment with steroid medications may reduce swelling of your tonsils
The surgical removal of tonsils through a tonsillectomy may be recommended if other treatments prove ineffective

A tonsillectomy is rarely needed for adults. However, it may be recommended for a child if he or she has had:

    More than six serious throat infections in one year
    More than four serious throat infections every year over a two-year period
    More than two serious throat infections every year over a three-year period



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