An inflammation of the pharyngeal tonsils, the visible glands at the back of the throat, is considered tonsillitis. Additional inflammation may include other areas of the back of the throat such as adenoids and the lingual tonsils, the tonsil tissue located at the back of the tongue. Acute, recurrent, chronic tonsillitis, and peritonsillar abscess are the several variations of tonsillitis. Tonsillitis and its complications are due to viral or bacterial infections and immunologic factors. In the United States, nearly all children will experience tonsillitis at least once. Complications associated with tonsillitis including fatalities, are rare due to advanced medical and surgical treatments. With this in mind, we at ENT Specialists would like to elaborate on tonsillitis.
How Common is Tonsillitis
More commonly occurring in children, tonsillitis rarely affects children under 2 years old. Viral tonsillitis is more common in younger children where the bacteria Streptococcus species typically occurs in children aged 5 to 15 years. Occurring occasionally in children, a peritonsillar abscess is sometimes found in young adults. With the help of the medical history, the patient’s tonsillitis, whether it is acute, recurrent, chronic, etc. can be identified and correctly diagnosed.
Types of Tonsillitis
Acute tonsillitis: Patients experience difficulty swallowing, painful swallowing, fever, sore throat, foul breath, and tender cervical lymph nodes. Snoring, mouth breathing, nocturnal breathing pauses, or sleep apnea may be occur, as the swollen tonsils causes airway obstruction. Other common systems include malaise and lethargy. Within 4-14 days, the symptoms clear up with medical treatment.
Recurrent tonsillitis: When an individual has multiple episodes of acute tonsillitis in a year they are diagnosed with recurrent tonsillitis.
Chronic tonsillitis: Persistent tender cervical nodes, chronic sore throat, halitosis, and tonsillitis.
Peritonsillar abscess: With difficulty opening their mouth, these patients often have severe throat pain, drooling, foul breath, fever, and muffled voice quality.
How Tonsillitis is Diagnosed
During the medical exam, the doctor will check the general ear, nose, and throat, account the patient’s history and determine proper diagnosis. The doctor may identify inflamed tonsils covered with pus and fever. GABHS, Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes can lead to tonsillitis and strep throat. Tiny hemorrhagic spots, enlarged neck nodes, and a fine red rash over the body suggests scarlet fever are included in the systems, typically occurring in children from 5-15 years old. Neck stiffness, tender cervical lymph nodes are associated with acute tonsillitis. Signs of dehydration is also a possibility. In an adolescent or younger child with acute tonsillitis, infectious mononucleosis due to EBV is another probability, especially when cervical, axillary, and/or groin nodes are tender. Low-grade fevers, severe lethargy, malaise is also associated with acute tonsillitis. Other systems can be included the doctor will look for to determine the variation of tonsillitis and what steps for treatment to take.
Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy
A regimen of antibiotics is the usual treatment method along with pain control and fluid replacement. In severe cases, particularly when there is airway obstruction, hospitalization may be required. A surgical procedure to remove the tonsils is often recommended when the condition is chronic or recurrent. To drain the abscess with peritonsillar abscess, more urgent care may be needed. Should you suspect tonsillitis in you or your kids, call ENT Specialists for an appointment and our medical experts will determine the extent of the symptoms and proper treatment.