Tonsillitis is a painful condition which affects many people across the world. It is an infection of the tonsils. They are located at the back of the mouth just where the jaw and the neck meet on both sides. Tonsils are there to stop germs and other particles from getting into the body. Unfortunately, they too can get inflamed and that is when we say that someone has tonsillitis.
It is more common in children and it can be spread through sneezing and coughing. Many children who get tonsillitis often stop getting it as they grow up. Sometimes tonsillitis will resolve itself and the symptoms will disappear in about a week. Oftentimes though, the tonsils will infect the tissue around them and that is when you need to see a doctor – left unattended they can lead to severe ear problems.
How do you know that you have tonsillitis?
The symptoms are unmistakable:
- There is pain on either side of your throat just where the tonsils are located. Often, the pain becomes worse when you try to swallow.
- The throat itself will be pretty painful and this pain gets more and more intense as the inflammation develops.
- You will develop a dull headache.
- The area around the tonsils is red and looks inflamed.
- The tonsils themselves have a yellow or creamy looking coating.
- Fever develops and keeps getting worse as the infection continues.
- You will have bad breathe, the kind that you have first thing in the morning but you will have it all day. It will not go away when you brush your teeth and it gets worse as the inflammation worsens.
- When it gets really bad the jaws will swell visibly and you will lose your voice.
How do you treat tonsillitis?
There are several ways to treat tonsillitis and one of the most common ones is removal. The doctor anesthetizes you and then reaches into your throat and surgically removes the tonsils. However, this is not a good solution and should only be used as a last resort, when the tonsils occur so frequently that they affect the quality of lifestyle. Remember we said that your tonsils are a barrier and they keep germs from the body.
They should therefore, as much as possible, be left intact. It is important to mention that there are modern techniques of performing tonsillectomies that don’t involve surgery. The doctor can elect to use lasers if he has them, he can use radio waves, electrocautery and even radio waves. Other ways of treating tonsillitis are:
Use of medications is also another way of treating tonsillitis. If you or your child has tonsillitis, you should visit the doctor so that he can prescribe the right medication. The doctor will check the severity of your symptoms. If they are serious then he will prescribe an antibiotic that. In addition to that, he will also give you a painkiller to take care of the pain in the throat and the headaches.
Any antibiotic that is prescribed should be completed – taking half-doses reduces your immunity. You should also be aware that there are some that come with side effects but they are not very serious. If you have tonsillitis often the doctor will recommend that you have a tonsillectomy because it is not safe to take antibiotics all the time.
There are several home remedies that have been known to be effective and you can try them at home if the tonsillitis is not too serious:
- Warm water and salt seem to be quite effective especially in children. All you need to do is put some warm water in a glass and add half a table of salt. Stir completely and then let the child gurgle and spit. Repeat every two hours and see if symptoms reduce. If they don’t you should go to the doctor.
- Lime and lemons seem to be good fro treating tonsillitis as well. Some people prefer to suck on them directly but if you cannot stand the bitterness, squeeze out the juice into a glass, add a little water and a teaspoonful of honey. Stir and sip on this juice for a while and see whether it makes any difference. If it doesn’t it may be time to see a doctor.
- Milk and black pepper are also effective. Boil the milk and then when it is on the boil add a pinch of black pepper. Let it cool and drink right before bed.
- Fenugreek seeds will help you treat tonsillitis because it has antibacterial properties. Boil them for 30 minutes in water, let the juice cool, strain and sip whilst still warm.
Remember, these are just home remedies and they may not work. If symptoms get worse you should see a doctor to avoid further infection.