Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, which are glands at the back of the throat. It is a common infection among children, and the cause can be viral, bacterial or from other factors. Tonsillitis, which includes the inflammation of the surrounding tissue, can be acute, recurrent or chronic in nature. An acute case of tonsillitis is typically treated with medication, while recurrent or chronic tonsillitis may require surgery to resolve the symptoms over the long term.
Symptoms of Tonsillitis
When someone has tonsillitis, the inflammation in the tonsils leads to a sore throat, difficulty or pain when swallowing, bad breath, fever and fatigue. In extreme cases, the airways might become obstructed by the swollen tonsils. With recurrent or chronic tonsillitis, the symptoms may come back many times a year or simply not go away at all. In some cases, an abscess can develop on the tonsils and lead to additional complications, including a severe sore throat, trouble opening the mouth and a muffled voice.
Treatment for tonsillitis varies based on the frequency or severity of the condition. If it is an isolated, acute case of tonsillitis, for example, then bed rest, fluid intake and over-the-counter pain relievers may be the proper course of action. Antibiotics will also be prescribed if the infection is bacterial. Since many people have difficulty swallowing with tonsillitis, liquids or soft foods like soups, smoothies and ice cream are helpful for providing nourishment while at the same time soothing the throat. If tonsillitis is chronic or recurrent, then the tonsils may be surgically removed in a procedure called a tonsillectomy.
SOURCES: American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; KidsHealth
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