What is Tonsillitis?
Do you have a red, swollen, and sore throat? The cause may be tonsilitis. Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils. Tonsils are the oval pad on either side of your throat. The tonsils help your body fight off infections and bacteria that enter through your nose and mouth by producing white blood cells.
The treatment of tonsillitis depends on the cause so it is important to get a quick and precise diagnosis from a leading ENT like Dr. Tadors located in Manhattan, NYC or NJ.
Causes of Tonsillitis
Tonsilitis can be caused by a virus or bacterial infection. Sometimes tonsillitis is caused by the common cold. Usually, tonsillitis is caused by the same bacterium that causes strep throat (Streptococcus pyogenes). However, other strains of strep or some other bacteria can cause tonsillitis.
Although our tonsils are designed to fight off infections, sometimes they become vulnerable to these viruses as well. People with mono can also develop tonsillitis because the Epstein-Barr virus causes both.
If you have a low immune system, you are more susceptible to tonsillitis caused by adenoviruses. Sometimes adenovirus causes ongoing tonsil infections.
The herpes simplex virus can be a cause of tonsillitis. You will notice white cracked blisters if your tonsillitis is caused by herpes.
Is Tonsillitis Dangerous?
Tonsilitis can be dangerous if caused by bacteria. If not treated, tonsilitis can cause breathing problems while sleeping.
Tonsilitis can also affect the ears and cause a middle ear infection. This is when the fluid between the eardrum and the inner ear becomes infected.
You can also have pus on the tonsilitis that creates an abscess.
If left untreated, tonsilitis can also cause scarlet fever that causes a pink rash or rheumatic fever that is an infection that spreads throughout the body and causes joint pain and rashes.
Tonsillitis Symptoms in Adults
If your tonsillitis is caused by a virus your symptoms will include coughing and a stuffy nose.
If your tonsillitis is caused by herpes you will see cracked blisters on your tonsils.
Other symptoms of tonsillitis include:
- Sore throat
- Red or white tonsils
- Ear pain
- Loss of appetite
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty swallowing
To appropriately treat your tonsilitis you need to diagnose the cause of the tonsillitis. Your tonsillitis specialist Dr. Tadros does a physical examination to see if your tonsils are red, swollen, or if there is pus on your tonsils. She checks if you have a fever and if she can see any infection in your ears and nose.
Your doctor may do a throat swab to test the bacteria in your tonsils. The throat swab checks for strep that may have caused your tonsillitis.
A blood test may be necessary to determine if your tonsillitis is caused by bacteria or a virus.
Tonsillitis will not go away on its own and if not treated will only get worse. However, there are some at-home treatments you can try. Get enough rest and drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. You can also make a saltwater gargle. Put one teaspoon of salt in 8 oz of warm water, gargle, and spit out.
You should make sure the air in your home is humidified. Dry air can further irritate your throat. Also, avoid cigarette smoke as this also irritates your throat.
If you have a fever, you can treat it with over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Antibiotics for tonsillitis will not work if your tonsillitis is caused by a virus. If the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics such as penicillin. You will usually need to take the medication for 10 days. Make sure to take the full course of medication for the tonsillitis to fully go away.
Tonsillitis That Occurs Frequently
If you have recurring tonsillitis your tonsillitis specialist may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils. Surgery can also be a treatment for bacterial tonsillitis that cannot be cured by antibiotics.
If you think you have tonsillitis or if you have frequent reoccurring tonsillitis contact Dr. Monica Tadros, a leading physician in treating tonsilitis to get a diagnosis today.