Tried various home remedies for a sore throat or bad breath but nothing seems to work? Medicines are also not providing relief? Does this problem occur quite often such that it brings your daily life to a standstill? Then it’s time to visit an ENT doctor as these all could be symptoms of tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis itself is not contagious in nature but the microorganisms that cause this infection are. The most common microorganisms that result in inflammation of tonsils are viruses and bacteria. So, it makes sense to know about both these pathogens causing tonsils, to slow down their spread.
Causes of tonsillitis- Viral or bacterial
The most common cause of tonsillitis is viral. Almost 90 percent of tonsillitis cases are due to viruses that cause the common cold. Not only this type of viruses can lead to inflammation of the tonsils but there are other types as well. Some of them are-
- Measles virus
- Herpes simplex virus
- Epstein- Barr virus
- Hepatitis A
Viral tonsillitis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is more prevalent among young adults and teens.
Another cause of tonsillitis is bacteria. Almost 15-30 percent of tonsillitis is caused by bacteria. The most common bacteria that causes tonsillitis is group A Streptococcus. Other bacteria that can cause tonsillitis are-
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Chlamydia pneumonia
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae
How to differentiate between bacterial or viral tonsillitis?
To identify virus causing tonsillitis
Here are the 3 most visible symptoms to look out for viral tonsillitis-
Look out for a runny nose
The first symptom a person with tonsillitis develops is a runny or stuffy nose. You can also develop a fever with a temperature of around 100.4 degrees F. In addition to this, there is a general feeling of unwellness.
Consider cough as a symptom
There can be other reasons for having a cough but it is more associated with a viral infection. It is more likely that you have a cough or husky voice due to laryngitis, but this could be due to viral tonsillitis.
Check for symptoms of tonsillitis
The symptoms of viral tonsillitis tend to cure faster than bacterial tonsillitis. Viral tonsillitis symptoms improve within three to four days. This is not a guaranteed identifier as viral tonsillitis can even last up to two weeks.
Look out for constant fatigue
A person suffering from viral tonsillitis due to EBV feels constant fatigue. This can last for weeks and other symptoms are sore throat, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits.
You have a rash on the roof of the mouth
Some people with viral tonsillitis can also develop a pinpoint red, speckled rash on the roof of the mouth. There can also be a grey covering over your tonsils.
To identify bacterial tonsillitis
Feel the neck for swollen lymph nodes
If you can feel a tender lump in your neck, this could indicate a bacterial infection. Although any infection in the throat can lead to a swollen lymph node, the chances are high that this could be due to bacterial tonsillitis.
Check for white spots
This is the most common symptom of bacterial tonsillitis- white spots on the throat. You can check for these symptoms by simply opening your mouth in front of a mirror.
Look out for ear infection
In very rare cases, bacteria from a throat infection can spread to the middle ear and cause an infection. Hence, this can also be a sign you can look out for.
See an abscess in the tonsil
Treatment of Viral and Bacterial Tonsillitis
No matter if you have developed viral or bacterial tonsillitis, the treatment remains almost the same. Some of them are discussed below-
Home remedies for Tonsillitis
Some of the tips that can help get relief from tonsillitis instantly are-
- Drinking lots of fluids
- Taking enough rest
- Gargling with warm water
- Taking throat lozenges
- Eating cold or frozen food
- Keeping the surrounding area moist
- Avoiding smoke
- For bacterial tonsillitis, antibiotics can work.
Surgery for recurrent tonsil infections
The surgical treatment option is recommended by ENT doctors when-
- Tonsillitis occurs regularly and affects the breath
- The condition gets complicated to peritonsillar abscess
Viral or bacterial tonsillitis is contagious in nature. Tonsillectomy is the best option to cure recurrent or chronic tonsillitis.
Tonsillectomy is the most effective treatment option one can opt for. This painless procedure at Pristyn Care is the fastest option for tonsillitis patients looking for a permanent cure. Want to know more about tonsillectomies? Contact us today!