Let’s clear some doubts first. Tonsillitis is one disease that can occur in any group. It’s just that children are more likely to suffer from them more as their immune system is still developing. Furthermore, another fact to note is that tonsillitis is contagious in nature which means they can spread from person to person.
So what is tonsillitis? The infection of the tonsils which are lymph nodes located at the back of the throat is known as tonsillitis. To understand the cure for tonsillitis, it is important to know its basics.
Read along as we discuss the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and possible treatment options of tonsillitis in this blog.
Types of Tonsillitis in Adults
In adults, three types of tonsillitis can occur. Each of them is explained below-
- Acute tonsillitis
The symptoms of this type of tonsillitis last around ten or more days. This can easily be treated with home remedies as well as antibiotics. Children are more likely to suffer from acute tonsillitis.
- Chronic tonsillitis
The symptoms of chronic tonsillitis are- sore throat, bad breath, tonsil stones and tenderness of the lymph nodes. This type of tonsillitis when there is an excess build-up of dead cells, saliva, and food.
- Recurrent tonsillitis
Recurrent tonsillitis can be defined as-
– Tonsillitis occurs 5 to 7 times in a year
– Occurs 5 times in the last two years
– Occurs 3 times in the last three years
Causes of tonsillitis in Adults
Tonsillitis occurs when the bacteria or viruses invade the tonsils. Some of them are mentioned below-
This is most common among the age group between 5 and 15. Some of the most common type of bacterias that can infect the tonsils are-
- Streptococcus bacteria
Apart from bacteria, viruses can also infection in the tonsils. Some of them are-
- Flu viruses
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Herpes simplex virus
- Measles virus
Risk factors for Tonsillitis in Adults
Although tonsillitis is more common in kids and teens, adults are also at the risk of developing tonsillitis. The following factors increase the risk of tonsillitis in adults-
- Living in close proximity to children- As children are more likely to suffer from tonsillitis, spending time with them increases the chances of getting tonsillitis in parents, grandparents or teachers.
- Age- After puberty, there is no significant role of tonsils in the immune system. Hence, when germs enter the body, the tonsils can get infected as with age the immune system weakens.
Symptoms of Tonsillitis in Adults
Depending on the severity of the problem, the symptoms can vary in each patient. However, there are some common symptoms that adults can experience which are discussed below-
- Swelling of the tonsils
- Redness around the tonsils
- Spots or patches of yellow, gray, or white color
- Blisters around the throat
- Painful sores of the throat
- Soreness of the throat suddenly
- Difficulty while swallowing
- Pain while gulping
- Snores while asleep
- Bad breath
- Terrible headaches
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling of tiredness
- Fever with chills
- Soreness and tenderness of the lymph nodes in the neck or jaw area
- Stiffness in the neck
Complications of tonsillitis in Adults
When left untreated for a while, tonsillitis can cause the following complications in adults.
- Secondary infections
The infections of the tonsils can spread to other parts such as nose, sinuses or ears and cause an infection inside them.
- Chronic tonsillitis
The infection in the tonsils don’t cure and the person keeps on suffering from sore throat and bad breath.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
This occurs when the infected tonsils become so large that they obstruct the flow of air. The apnea generally occurs when the individual is sleeping hence, this results in disturbed sleeping patterns.
- Peritonsillar abscess
The infection can spread in the surrounding tissue and even cause a pus-filled abscess also known as Peritonsillar abscess. This is a painful condition as it can compress the air passages.
Diagnosis for Tonsillitis in Adults
When you reach the doctor’s office, he or she will start to have a look at the throat to check for any spots or swelling. Furthermore, he will conduct a general examination and go through the patient’s medical history by asking some questions.
To know the exact cause of tonsillitis, the doctor may take some tissues from the back of the throat with the help of a sterile swab and send it to labs. In addition to this, a sample of blood can also be sent to the lab to check the levels of certain types of blood cells.
Treatment for tonsillitis in Adults
Home remedies for tonsillitis
To get relief from the discomfort or pain caused due to tonsillitis, try the following remedies-
- Instead of carrying on with daily chores, get enough rest to let the body preserve energy to fight infections.
- Drink lots of fluids, especially warm to prevent dehydration and get a soothing effect. Make sure that you avoid caffeinated products such as coffee.
- Gargle with warm water to get relief.
- Take throat lozenges.
- Stay away from tobacco and locations with smoke.
Medicines for Tonsillitis
ENT doctors often give antibiotics to patients to cure tonsillitis caused by bacterial infections. But the treatment is different for tonsillitis caused by viral infections. Tonsillitis caused by cold requires other medicines.
Surgery for Tonsillitis
In cases of chronic and recurring tonsillitis, removing the tonsils surgically is the only option. When inflamed tonsils cause difficulty in breathing or causing sleep apnea, then doctors recommend surgery. Want to know more? Drop your query below.