What is tonsillitis and how is it treated?
Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the pharyngeal and tonsils, which occurs in acute or chronic form. The pathogens that cause inflammation are bacteria, viruses or fungi. Infectious agents disrupt the normal functioning of lymphoid tissue, cause swelling, redness, and a change in secretion. In gaps accumulates discharge with possible impurities of pus.
Short information about tonsillitis
The most common reasons for the condition onset are bacteria. In around 50%, the causative agent is group A Streptococcus. The other cases are viruses and fungi.
The disease is contagious, especially if tonsillitis is caused by scarlet fever. Thus, a patient shouldn’t leave their room, make sure it is ventilated frequently, and avoid contacts with elderly and children. A patient should also have separate dishes that are then thoroughly washed in hot water.
With improper treatment, the acute form becomes chronic. This is a persistent pathology of lymphoid tissue, leading to a relapse of tonsillitis and immune changes in the body.
Chronic tonsillitis occurs not only with improper treatment of ENT infection in the acute stage such as flu, common cold, otitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis, but also in the presence of:
- Persistent carious (cavities) and necrotic processes in dental units;
- Difficulty breathing due to the deviation of the nasal septum, polyps, or other causes.
Chronic tonsillitis manifests itself with weakened immunity, relapses more often occur in the cold season when there is a high risk of local or general hypothermia (overcooling). Tonsillitis can develop in high mental and physical stress, an unbalanced diet - in any situations that weaken the body's defense mechanisms.
Flare-ups of chronic tonsillitis
Despite the variety of reasons leading to chronic pathology, most often tonsillitis turns into chronic with the improper treatment of ENT diseases. Self-treatment relieves the symptoms of a sore throat but does not eliminate the pathogens. The action of viruses and bacteria decreases, which gives the patient a false sense of recovery. But the inflammatory process continues, the cellular nutrition of lymphoid tissue changes. And with a decrease in immune defense, the disease "restarts", although it does not proceed as clearly as in the acute form.
Flare-ups of chronic tonsillitis occur several times a year, the individual may experience:
- Severe sore throat when swallowing;
- General weakness and malaise;
On visual inspection, the tonsils look red, swollen, pus can accumulate in the gaps. In case of the appearance of these symptoms or periodic sore throat, it is recommended making an appointment with an otolaryngologist.
Prevention of chronic tonsillitis
How to treat chronic tonsillitis is determined by an otolaryngologist after making an accurate diagnosis and determining the cause of persistent ENT disorders. Treatment of chronic tonsillitis is impossible without eliminating the factors that cause relapses of tonsillitis: it is necessary to cure tooth decay and eliminate the defect in the nasal septum if they are the main causes.
To combat pathogens, antimicrobial (antibiotics such as Zithromax or its generics) or antiviral drugs are prescribed; local therapy gives a good result. Antiseptic solutions, sprays, and lozenges relieve inflammation in the tonsils, improve tissue nutrition, which contributes to a speedy recovery.
If therapy of chronic tonsillitis in children and adults does not give a result, the otolaryngologist can decide on surgery. In order to prevent the process from becoming chronic, it is necessary to regularly visit the ENT specialist and go to the clinic at the first symptoms of violations.
Health complications that tonsillitis can cause
Tonsillitis can cause such complications as otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear), sinusitis (sinuses inflammation), arthritis, acute laryngitis, edema of the larynx, phlegmon of the neck, peri-pharyngeal abscess, and acute cervical lymphadenitis.
The most dangerous complications are:
- In the early stages: pharyngeal abscesses (the formation of large cavities filled with pus), the expansion of infection into the chest with the development of mediastinitis, into the cranial cavity with the development of inflammation of the brain (meningitis), infectious toxic shock (poisoning of the body by the products of microbial activity and decay of body tissues), sepsis ("blood poisoning", that is, the penetration of infection into the blood and its spread throughout the body).
- In the late stages (in 2-4 weeks): acute rheumatic fever, glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys of non-infectious origin, leading to severe health disorders, up to renal failure).
Preventive measures to prevent exacerbation are as follows:
- Strengthening immunity with the help of immunomodulators, vitamin complexes, moderate physical activity, healthy diet, quitting bad habits (smoking, vaping, alcohol consumption);
- Smoking cessation because cigarette smoke irritates the tissues of the pharynx;
- Avoid overcooling;
- Do not use any drugs and especially antibiotics if not prescribed by a doctor or discontinuing antibiotics use prematurely (this causes resistance of the pathogen and infection becomes harder to treat).