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What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils which is caused by viral or less commonly a bacterial infection. At the back of the throat, tonsils are two lymph nodes – one on either side, which act as a filter in trapping the germs, which could enter through air and cause infection. Tonsils produce antibodies to fight against the infection, but at times they tend to get infected themselves. When infected they become inflamed, which is the condition known as Tonsillitis.

What causes Tonsillitis?

The main and the most common cause of Tonsillitis is viral or bacterial infection.

What are the signs and symptoms of Tonsillitis?

Children between pre-school ages and mid-teenage years are more commonly affected by Tonsillitis. The most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Swollen, red tonsils
  • Yellow or white coating on the tonsils
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • High fever
  • Bad breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Headache
  • Scratchy or muffed voice
  • Swollen glands in the neck or jaw area
  • Loss of appetite

The symptoms among children include:

  • Unusual fussiness
  • Refusal to eat
  • Difficulty in swallowing food
Which factors increase the risk of Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is very common among the children from preschool to mid-teenage years. As children are frequently exposed to bacteria and viruses, it increases the chances of Tonsillitis.

What are the complications involved if Tonsillitis is not treated?
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Disrupted breathing during sleep
  • Tonsillar cellulitis (an infection which spreads deep into the surrounding tissue)
  • Tonsillar abscess (an infection that leads to pus which gets collected behind the tonsil)
Who should be consulted for Tonsillitis?

One should consult an ENT Specialist for Tonsillitis.

How can Tonsillitis be prevented?
  • The best prevention always, is to practice good hygiene as the germs which cause bacterial and viral Tonsillitis are contagious
  • Hands should be frequently washed, especially after using the toilet and after eating
  • Sharing of utensils and drinking glasses should be avoided
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