Tonsils are two small pads of tissue lying on the back of your inner throat. Tonsillitis is the term used to describe inflammation or swelling of tonsils. Swollen tonsils can cause irritation and discomfort on the throat and difficulty in swallowing foods. The tender lymph nodes on the sides of neck also get inflamed during tonsillitis. Common cause of tonsils is bacterial infection and it can be cured completely through medicines and surgery.
The tonsils or tissue like tiny growth on the inner throat becomes red and swollen. Sore throat, discomfort while swallowing, fever, body pain, enlarged lymph nodes of the neck, and yellowish or white patches on the tonsils are some of the signs of swollen tonsils. The entire throat area becomes swollen and red making it difficult to eat anything. For some people it can cause muffled voice while talking due to pain and discomfort.
In young children it can cause stomachache and headache. You can detect tonsillitis if the child refuses to eat anything and becomes fussy for eating his favorite diet also.
Viral or bacterial infection causes swollen tonsils. Streptococcus Group A often is the reason for inflammation on the tonsils area. Sometimes other strains of bacteria can also cause infection.
Swollen tonsils or tonsillitis is very rare among adults and is common in young children. During young age, the body’s immune system is weak and responds in the way of swollen tonsils when the body gets infected with bacteria or virus in the mouth. It is the defense mechanism that cause swelling on the tonsils and inner throat of the oral cavity. This condition is largely seen on preschool children and middle aged children. Another possible reason for getting tonsillitis is the increased exposure to outside food and close contact with other infectious children.
In very rare cases, if the treatment and antibiotic remedies are not given properly for tonsillitis it can cause rheumatic fever which is a condition of inflammatory disorder affecting joints and tissues of the heart.
The doctor will observe the symptoms above and he will examine the child’s throat using light. He will look for inflammation and reddish color of the throat and he gently touches your child’s neck for detecting inflamed lymph nodes.
For some cases he may order for throat swab for collecting sample of secretions from the throat. If required, you will be asked to do complete blood culture for checking the count of blood cells which gives clear report of intensity of infection.
For mild infection of swollen tonsils you can give treatment at home for reducing the inflammation and discomfort.
Make the child to sleep for extended hours thus allowing him to take complete rest. If the child refuses to eat solid foods, you can give him plenty of fluids to keep him well hydrated. Warm liquids like tea or warm water added with honey will provide soothing effect on the swollen throat. Your child can gargle warm salt water that is effective in curing bacterial infection and sore throat. You can repeat this process several times a day for reducing pain and swelling.
Using air humidifier is helpful to reduce dry air that can cause more irritation on the throat. Allow the child to sit in steamy bathroom for several minutes. For children above 4 years, oral lozenges can reduce discomfort on the sore throat.
In severe pain and inflammation you can give the child ibuprofen or Tylenol for managing fever and throat pain.
Medical Care :
Antibiotics are prescribed for treating bacterial infection of swollen tonsils. You should complete the course of treatment without stopping the drugs for getting it cured. Some people will stop taking medicines if the symptoms of sore throat and inflammation are reduced. But this can cause more infection that can spread to neighboring parts of your body.
Always keep the body well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids if you are not able to eat food.
Surgery is done for removing tonsils if you are not responding to medications. This process is known as tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils) which is done for children with chronic tonsillitis.
Some children will have problems in sleeping and breathing due to inflammation of tonsils and sore throat. Moreover the child will have problems in eating food which can cause deficit in nutrition.
Removing the tonsils is a simple surgery and the child can get back home on the same day. He will be asked to take medicines for a week or 10 days for reducing discomfort and pain caused by surgery.
By following good oral hygiene you can reduce the chance of getting infected by virus or bacteria. Washing hands properly before eating and after using toilet can lessen the chance of infection.