A Tonsillitis or Tonsillitis is usually visually noticeable in the easily visible, swollen or reddened and inflamed tonsils. It thus represents an inflammation of the tonsils in the pharynx. Usually tonsillitis occurs in the context of angina tonsillaris or acute tonsillitis.
Significant swallowing difficulties and a swollen throat, in particular, are solid signs of tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis can be both a symptom of different diseases. It is mostly known to occur in angina tonsillaris or acute tonsillitis. For this reason, tonsillitis itself is often used as a synonym for tonsillar angina. But this article will focus on tonsillitis as a symptom. You can find further information on angina tonsillaris here: Angina tonsillaris.
Particularly the noticeable difficulty swallowing and a swollen throat are sound signs of tonsillitis. In addition to acute tonsillitis, which quickly subsides again with its accompanying illness, there is also chronic tonsillitis (chronic tonsillitis). The tonsils are constantly inflamed.
As already noted, tonsillitis usually occurs with angina tonsillaris or acute tonsillitis. The causative pathogens are often bacteria (streptococci, pneumococci, Haemophilus influenzae, staphylococci) and, more rarely, viruses. Most often, tonsillitis occurs in children and adolescents, as in childhood and adolescence the tonsils are particularly responsible for the formation of a strong immune system. Likewise, children and adolescents are particularly at risk of tonsillitis if their general condition or the immune system is damaged or weakened (including stress).
If tonsillitis occurs more often, this can lead to chronic tonsillitis. Bacteria then deposit dead cells on the mucous membranes of the tonsils and the inflammation cannot go back normally. Surgical removal of the tonsils can then be useful, although this form of tonsillitis is usually harmless.
If the tonsils are enlarged, reddened and the patient complains of pain in this area, the doctor will diagnose tonsillitis. If the disease is accompanied by yellowish spots (specks) on the tonsils, swollen lymph glands in the neck area and a moderate or even high fever, this indicates that it is already at an advanced stage.
To determine the pathogen (viral or bacterial), the doctor may take a smear. The course depends on the underlying disease, the treatment and the constitution of the patient: Tonsillitis usually heals within a week without any consequences. Anyone who tends to recur in this area should ask their doctor about suitable countermeasures.
There can be some complications with tonsillitis. While it is a common condition that almost everyone goes through at least once in their life, tonsillitis should not be considered harmless. If there is bacterial tonsillitis, there is a risk that the bacteria will get into the blood and lead to sepsis ("blood poisoning") there.
It is also possible that the bacteria are transported via the blood to other organs, especially the kidneys and the heart, and lead to inflammation there. Thus, both kidney and heart muscle inflammation are possible complications that can occur in the context of tonsillitis. After tonsillitis caused by streptococci, rheumatic fever can occur. Numerous organs are involved in this systemic disease.
In addition, there may be an abscess]] in the area of the tissue surrounding the tonsils, the so-called [peritonsillar abscess]]. This is the most common complication of tonsillitis. In addition, the peritonsillar abscess is often accompanied by an inflammatory jaw clamp, in which the mouth can only be opened a little. A retropharyngeal abscess and neck phlegmon are also possible complications of tonsillitis. As a rule, however, it can be assumed that no complications will arise if the disease is treated by a doctor.
Tonsillitis is a condition that should definitely be examined by a doctor. At the same time, tonsillitis occurs in connection with various clinical pictures, which, however, can be effectively combated and contained with appropriate medication. These symptoms include headache, fever, general malaise or chills.
Anyone who completely renounces medical and drug treatment at this point is running a very high risk. The symptoms mentioned above can get significantly worse, so a visit to the doctor is inevitable. However, anyone who takes appropriate treatment can treat the respective clinical pictures very well and effectively. A clear improvement should occur within a short time. In general, tonsillitis should be treated by your own family doctor at the first signs.
Possible complications can only be avoided with treatment and the appropriate medication. If you do without it, you have to reckon with considerable complaints and aggravations. Under certain circumstances, even food intake can be significantly restricted, as tonsillitis causes severe swallowing difficulties.
First of all, the doctor needs to determine what type of tonsillitis is present. Every further treatment is based on this.
The doctor examines the inside of the mouth or throat. If the doctor finds swollen and reddened tonsils that are well covered by pus, an acute tonsillitis can usually be assumed. When palpating the neck further, pain usually occurs in the lymph nodes, which is also a clear indication of acute tonsillitis. Sometimes the tongue is also covered and the palate is reddened.
A throat swab to examine the pathogen more closely may provide further information if there is a suspicion of chronic tonsillitis.
Antipyretic and pain reliever medication is then administered to heal. Home remedies such as leg wraps or warm neck wraps also help. Only soft or liquid food should be eaten. In addition, cold drinks or ice cream can be helpful and often delight the little patient. However, avoid acidic drinks such as juices, as they only irritate the throat unnecessarily. Herbal tea and water are absolutely sufficient.
If necessary, the doctor will also prescribe gargle preparations that have a disinfectant effect. Medicines with natural active ingredients from sage and chamomile have proven particularly effective.
With chronic tonsillitis, the tonsils on the palate are often pitted. They are either greatly enlarged or greatly reduced. If the tonsils are pressed, pus or pus-like secretions can emerge. In any case, the doctor should take a smear of the pus to determine the exact pathogen and antibodies.
Further treatment is usually continued with surgical removal of the tonsils.
In most cases, tonsillitis can be treated without surgery and has no further complications. The inflammation itself subsides on its own within a few days, even without additional treatment. The patient often suffers from a sore throat, which makes it very difficult to get food and fluids. Here pain relievers and sore throats can be used.
If the tonsillitis has progressed relatively strongly and does not go away on its own, a visit to the doctor is advisable. It can also be treated with the help of antibiotics.
If the infection was due to viruses rather than bacteria, antibiotics cannot treat tonsillitis. If the tonsils are enlarged from the inflammation, it may cause shortness of breath. This should be paid attention to especially with children, since the tonsils of children are already relatively large in their usual state.
In most cases, tonsillitis can be combated very quickly with timely treatment and does not lead to further complications or discomfort.
A healthy immune system is the best prevention against tonsillitis. The best way to get this is through a lot of exercise in nature, sport and a healthy diet. Avoid smoking and too much alcohol. Take a sauna more often.
A tonsillitis is a nuisance, but not life threatening. The patient should obey the dull, battered feeling and rest, ideally at home in bed. School, university or work have to wait, because concentration is not good anyway and the additional stress can ensure that tonsillitis stays longer than absolutely necessary.
Since tonsillitis often results in a fever, sufficient fluids are important during this time. Oily herbal teas such as sage or chamomile are easy to swallow. They also have a disinfecting effect and are therefore more suitable than water or other drinks. Since the throat dries out quickly with tonsillitis and cannot be drunk all the time, sugar-free herbal throat drops are recommended. Herbal candies also contain effective oils that keep the throat well moisturized and prevent it from becoming painfully dry.
You can take something against fever and headache with tonsillitis, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. It is not advisable to take cold medicines as they make the patient actually feel better - better than they should. This only tempts you to try harder than is really good in your current physical condition. Home remedies such as onion or quark wraps, which are wrapped around the neck for a short time, are better.