Tonsillitis Bacterium Symptoms: Often found in the age group of school-going children, Tonsillitis is an infection of our tonsils, two masses of tissue at the back of your throat.
Our tonsils act as filters, trapping germs that could otherwise enter your airways and cause infection. Further, they also make antibodies to fight infection. But sometimes, they get overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses. As a result, tonsils swell and are inflamed.
Tonsillitis is common, especially in children. It can happen once in a while or come back again and again in a short period of time.
There are three types:
- Acute tonsillitis. These symptoms usually last 3 or 4 days but can last up to 2 weeks.
- Recurrent tonsillitis. This is when you get tonsillitis several times in a year.
- Chronic tonsillitis. This is when you have a long-term tonsil infection.
The main symptoms collate as follows:
Tonsillitis is inflamed and swollen tonsils, sometimes severe enough to make it hard to breathe through your mouth.
Other symptoms include:
- Throat pain or tenderness
- Red tonsils
- A white or yellow coating on your tonsils
- Painful blisters or ulcers on your throat
- Loss of appetite
- Ear pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Swollen glands in your neck or jaw
- Fever and chills
- Bad breath
- A scratchy or muffled voice
- Stiff neck
Tonsillitis Symptoms in Children
- In children, symptoms may also include:
- Upset stomach
- Stomach pain
- Not wanting to eat or swallow
- Tonsillitis Causes
Bacterial and viral infections cause tonsillitis. A common cause is Streptococcus (strep) bacteria, which can also cause strep throat. Other common causes include:
- Influenza virus
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Parainfluenza viruses
- Herpes simplex virus
Our doctor’s diagnosis often starts with a physical exam. They’ll look at the tonsils to see if they’re red or swollen or have pus on them. Running down the symptoms, they first see the degree of fever.
They may look in the ears and nose for signs of infection and feel the sides of your neck for swelling and pain. Further off, there might need tests to find the cause of your tonsillitis. They include:
- A throat swab. Your doctor will test saliva and cells from your throat for strep bacteria. They’ll run a cotton swab along the back of your throat. This might be uncomfortable but won’t hurt. Results are usually ready in 10 or 15 minutes. Sometimes, your doctor will also want a lab test that takes a couple of days. If these tests are negative, a virus caused your tonsillitis.
- A blood test. Your doctor may call this a complete blood cell count (CBC). It looks for high and low numbers of blood cells to show whether a virus or bacteria caused your tonsillitis.
If a bacterium causes the infection then the chances of complications are usually high. They include:
- A collection of pus around your tonsil (peritonsillar abscess)
- Middle ear infection
- Breathing problems or breathing that stops and starts while you sleep (obstructive sleep apnea)
Tonsillitis and Strep Infection
If you have strep bacteria and don’t get treatment, your illness could lead to a more serious problem, including:
- Rheumatic fever
- Scarlet fever
- A kidney infection called glomerulonephritis
- Tonsillitis Treatments
- The treatment will depend on the most part of what caused the illness.
Treatments and its process:
If the tests find bacteria, it’s pretty sure that the patient is prescribed with antibiotics. The doctor might give you these drugs in a one-time injection or in pills that need to be swallowed for several days as prescribed.
The effects of the medicine show up within 2 or 3 days, but it’s important to take all of the medication.
If a virus is affecting your tonsils, antibiotics won’t help, and your body will fight the infection on its own. In the meantime, you can try some home remedies:
- Get lots of rest
- Drink warm or very cold fluids to help with throat pain
- Eat smooth foods, such as flavoured gelatin, ice cream, and applesauce
- Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in your room
- Gargle with warm saltwater
- Suck on lozenges with benzocaine or other medications to numb your throat
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Tonsillectomy surgery
Tonsils are an important part of our immune system, so it is better to seek a doctor who will help you keep them healthy.
But if tonsillitis keeps coming back or won’t go away, or if swollen tonsils make it hard for you to breathe or eat, you might need to have your tonsils taken out. This surgery is called a tonsillectomy.
Usually, your doctor uses a sharp tool called a scalpel to take out your tonsils. But other options are available, including lasers, radio waves, ultrasonic energy, or electrocautery to remove enlarged tonsils.
Discuss your options with your doctor to decide the best treatment for you.
Tonsillectomy is an outpatient procedure, meaning you won’t need to stay in the hospital. It usually lasts less than an hour. You can probably go home a few hours after surgery.