Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils, where the tonsils become red and enlarged with a yellow or white coating. The tonsils are lymph nodes located in the back of the mouth and top of the throat. They function in a way assist the immune system by protecting the body from infections that may enter the body through the oral cavity. The tonsils filter the bacteria and other microorganisms from entering the body and avoiding infection. The tonsils also produce antibodies that help fight off infections. Infection may also be seen in other parts of the throat.
Tonsil infections are commonly caused by bacteria and viruses, thus it is contagious. It can be transmitted from person to person by means of direct contact with the mouth, throat or mucus with an infected person. It can occur to anyone by it highly common in children.
Causes of Tonsillitis
The most common cause of tonsil infections is caused by bacterial and viral infections. These include:
- Streptococcus bacteria
- Influenza virus
- Parainfluenza viruses
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Herpes simplex virus
Symptoms of Tonsillitis
Signs and symptoms of tonsillitis are commonly easy to diagnose. Apart from swollen tonsils, the following are the main symptoms that are used to diagnose tonsillitis.
- Red and enlarged tonsils with yellow or white coating or patches
- Painful blisters on the throat
- Throat pain or tenderness
- Lasts for more than two days
- May be severe
- Hoarse or voice loss
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing through the mouth
- Fever and chills
- Bad breath
- Ear pain
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Increased irritability
First Aid for Tonsillitis
As is with many cases of bacterial and viral infections, treatment will depend on the cause. A doctor will perform a throat swab culture or strep test to diagnose the cause of tonsillitis. The main purpose of applying first aid after initial signs of tonsillitis is to avoid exacerbating the symptoms and to promote recovery of a child. To relieve of symptoms:
- If caused by a bacteria
- Antibiotics, which can be taken just once or for 10 days
- If caused by a virus
- Antibiotics will have no effect thus this should not be taken
- Take plenty of rest.
- To relieve from throat pain, drink warm or very cold fluids. Gargle with warm salt water.
- Eat smooth foods to avoid aggravating throat pain.
- Lozenges containing benzocaine or other anesthetics may be taken.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be taken as well.
Disclaimer: The information given should not be substituted for medical advice or first aid training. To learn more about tonsillitis and other bacterial and viral infections of the body, register to join in Standard Childcare First Aid Courses.