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Dr. Gunjan Sachdeva

Consultant - ENT

Manipal Hospitals, Gurugram

Tonsillitis: What It Is, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention Tips

Posted On: May 31, 2024

blogs read 4 Min Read

Tonsillitis It's Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention Tips

Ever woken up with a scratchy, painful throat that makes swallowing a chore? You might have tonsillitis, a common infection that inflames the tonsils – those two soft tissues at the back of your throat. This blog dives deep into tonsillitis, exploring its causes, the tell-tale symptoms, and effective treatment options. We have added prevention tips shared by our ENT specialist in Gurugram. 


What are Tonsils and Why Do They Get Inflamed?

Tonsils are part of your body's defence system, acting as filters that trap bacteria and viruses entering through your mouth and nose. However, these tonsils themselves can become infected, leading to tonsillitis.

The Culprits Behind Tonsillitis

Two main culprits are responsible for tonsillitis:

  • Viruses: Viral infections are the most common tonsillitis stones cause, particularly in children. These viruses can be the same ones that cause the common cold or flu.

  • Bacteria: Bacterial infections, though less frequent than viral infections, can also cause tonsillitis. Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat) is a common bacterial culprit.

Recognizing the Signs of Tonsillitis

While a sore throat is a classic symptom, tonsillitis often presents with a combination of these tell-tale signs:

  • Sore Throat: A persistent, scratchy, or burning sensation in the throat, often worse when swallowing.

  • Swollen Tonsils: The tonsils become red, inflamed, and may appear larger than usual.

  • Difficulty Swallowing: Pain and discomfort can make swallowing a struggle.

  • Fever: A low-grade fever is common, but it can sometimes be higher, especially with bacterial tonsillitis.

  • Swollen Lymph Nodes: The glands in your neck (lymph nodes) may become tender and swollen as your body fights the infection.

  • Earache: Ear pain can sometimes accompany tonsillitis.

  • Headache: Mild headache is a possible symptom.

  • Bad Breath: The presence of bacteria can contribute to bad breath.

  • Fatigue: Feeling tired and run down is a common complaint.

  • Loss of Appetite: A sore throat can make eating uncomfortable, leading to decreased appetite.

Consult our ENT hospital in Gurugram if you are experiencing the above tonsillitis symptoms. 

Tonsillitis Treatment

The treatment approach for tonsil removal depends on the underlying cause:

  • Viral Tonsillitis: There's no specific cure for viral tonsillitis. However, home remedies like rest, gargling with warm salt water, and over-the-counter pain relievers (consult our ENT Specialist in Gurugram for appropriate dosage) can help manage tonsilitis symptoms.

  • Bacterial Tonsillitis: Bacterial tonsillitis is typically treated with antibiotics to eradicate the infection. Completing the entire course of the tonsilitis medication is crucial to prevent complications.

In severe or recurrent cases of tonsillitis, tonsillectomy (surgical tonsils removal) might be considered.

Seeking Medical Attention

Consult your doctor if you experience:

  • Severe sore throat that makes swallowing difficult

  • Fever above 103°F (39.4°C)

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Severe earache

  • Swollen lymph nodes that persist over two weeks

  • Persistent tonsillitis despite home remedies

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for a speedy recovery and to prevent complications.

Tips to Prevent Tonsilitis 

While there's no guaranteed way to completely prevent tonsillitis, certain strategies can significantly reduce your risk of developing this infection. Here are some key tips to keep those tonsils healthy:

Frequent Handwashing

This is your best defence against many infections, including tonsillitis. Dedicate a minimum of 20 seconds to washing your hands with soap and water, particularly:

  • Before eating or preparing food

  • After using the restroom

  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

  • After being in public places or around someone who is sick

  • Avoid Sharing Personal Items.

Avoid sharing utensils, drinking glasses, or other personal items with someone who has a cold, sore throat, or tonsillitis. These viruses and bacteria can easily spread through saliva.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Adequate Sleep: Getting enough sleep strengthens your immune system, making you less susceptible to infections.
  • Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs to fight off infections.
  • Stress Regulation: Prolonged stress can impair your immunity. Seek healthier modes of reducing stress, which includes exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Reduce Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

  • Smoke irritates the throat and can increase your susceptibility to infections. Avoid secondhand smoke exposure whenever possible.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drinking plenty of fluids keeps your throat moist and can help flush out bacteria. Always consider herbal teas, water or diluted fruit beverages. 

Consider Gargling with Salt Water (for Older Children and Adults)

  • Gargling with warm salt water can soothe a sore throat and may help reduce bacterial growth in the mouth and throat. (Not recommended for young children who may swallow the solution).

Strengthen Your Oral Hygiene

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing regularly removes bacteria from your mouth and throat, which can help reduce your risk of infection.

These tips can help lower your risk of tonsillitis, but they don't guarantee complete prevention. If you experience persistent sore throat, fever, or other symptoms of tonsillitis, consult our ENT doctor in Gurugram for a proper diagnosis and tonsilitis treatment plan. By following these strategies and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing tonsillitis and keep those tonsils happy!

To read more medically accurate blogs on trending healthcare topics, bookmark our official blog page. Our page is categorised into sections dedicated to different centres of excellence such as cardiology, gynaecology, orthopaedics and more. 

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