Tonsillitis is a common condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the tonsils. The tonsils are two lymph nodes located at the back of the throat. Tonsillitis can be very painful making it difficult to swallow. This condition can sometimes lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid these complications.
The main symptoms of tonsillitis are inflammation and swelling in the tonsils. Other symptoms may include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Treatment for tonsillitis will depend on the cause of the condition. Viral infections usually go away on their own within a week or two. Bacterial infections will require antibiotics to clear the infection. Allergic reactions and irritants can be treated with over-the-counter medications or home remedies.
A doctor will usually diagnose tonsillitis based on a physical examination and medical history. In some cases, a throat swab may be taken to test for bacteria or viruses. In rare cases, additional tests such as specialized blood tests and CT scan may be ordered if a doctor suspects an individual has another condition, such as mono or strep throat.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a virus that attacks the respiratory system. The flu virus can cause the tonsils to become swollen and inflamed, making it difficult to swallow and causing a sore throat. The flu virus attacks the body by binding to cells in the respiratory system. Once the virus has attached itself to these cells, it replicates. As the virus replicates, it causes the cells to become inflamed and swell.
The symptoms of tonsillitis can vary depending on the severity of the infection. In some cases, tonsillitis can also cause headaches and pain in the ear. People who experience any of these symptoms must see a doctor as soon as possible so that they can determine the presence of tonsillitis and prescribe treatment accordingly.
Most cases of viral tonsillitis, including those caused by the flu virus, will resolve on their own without antibiotics. However, people with severe cases of viral tonsillitis or those that don’t seem to be improving after a few days of home treatment may need to be treated with intravenous fluids and given oxygen therapy. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the infected tonsils altogether.