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Tonsillitis

What is Tonsillitis?

The inflammation of pharyngeal tonsils – the glands at the back of your throat – is referred to as Tonsillitis. Inflammation of the adenoids as well as the lingual tonsils may also contribute to Tonsillitis. Weak immunity and viral and bacterial infection are usually the causes of tonsillitis. Almost every child in the United States experiences at least one episode of Tonsillitis between the ages of 2 and 15. Prompt treatment by an experienced otolaryngologist can help contain the complications of this common condition.

If your child is showing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!

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What Causes Tonsillitis?

Tonsils are the two masses of tissues at the back of the throat, visible through your mouth, while adenoids are not visible as they are placed high in the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth. They are your body’s first line of defense as they trap or filter infection causing germs and produce antibodies to boost your immunity. However, sometimes they may get overwhelmed by viruses and bacteria and get infected leading them to swell up.

Following Bacteria and Viruses may cause Tonsillitis:

  • Streptococcus (Strep) bacteria
  • Adenoviruses
  • Influenza virus
  • Measles virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Parainfluenza viruses
  • Enteroviruses
  • Herpes simplex virus

What are the Types and Symptoms of Tonsillitis?

Depending on the various types of Tonsillitis, your child may experience varying symptoms.

Acute tonsillitis: Caused by a severe infection, acute tonsillitis may lead to following symptoms:

  • Redness of the tonsils
  • Fever and chills
  • Ear infections and ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Foul breath
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Odynophagia (painful swallowing)
  • Tender cervical lymph nodes
  • Mouth breathing due to air obstruction
  • Snoring, sleep apnea and nocturnal breathing pauses
  • Lethargy and malaise

Recurrent Tonsillitis: Acute tonsillitis may attack your child multiple times a year with all of its symptoms.

Chronic Tonsillitis: The following symptoms may last for a long time:

  • Chronic sore throat
  • Halitosis
  • Tender cervical nodes

Peritonsillar Abscess: Untreated strep throat or tonsillitis may lead to a puss filled pocket near one of your tonsils. Following symptoms may be experienced:

  • Severe throat pain
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Foul breath
  • Difficulty opening the mouth (trismus)
  • Muffled voice

When Should I see a Doctor?

You need to consult an experienced otolaryngologist as soon as your child starts showing symptoms of inflamed tonsils. A doctor’s visit becomes crucial if your child shows following signs:

  • Breathing obstruction
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Spasms in the muscles of the jaw and neck

How is Tonsillitis Diagnosed?

Following diagnostic procedures may be carried out by your doctor:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Throat swab cultures or rapid strep tests to determine the underlying infection
  • Blood tests to rule out mononucleosis
  • Polysomnogram or sleep study to examine the extent of sleep disturbance

How is Tonsillitis Treated?

As there are many underlying causes of Tonsillitis the treatment may vary in each case.

  • In case of a bacterial infection an antibiotic course will get the job done
  • If caused by a virus, your child’s tonsillitis may get better with enough rest, fluid replacement, pain relievers and some precautionary steps
  • In case of Peritonsillar Abscess needle aspiration, incision and drainage may be required to drain the puss
  • Surgery to remove tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be the only resort if the tonsillitis is recurrent, chronic or particularly acute. Surgical removal or tonsils, or using lasers, radio wave, ultrasonic energy to cut, burn or evaporate are all available options. Tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthesia; the child is ready to go home in a few hours and completely recovers in a week to 10 days.

Tonsillitis can negatively affect the quality of life and if left unchecked, can lead to serious complications. If your child is showing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!