Acute Tonsillitis - Tonsillitis Complications

Updated on 09 Jun 2009,
Published on 02 Jun 2009

The term tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of the palatine tonsils. It results into swelling of the tonsils and can sometimes extend to the adenoids and the lingual tonsils. When the infection of the tonsils extends further to the pharyngeal cavity it is referred to as pharyngitis. If tonsillitis is not treated well in time then it can lead to several other diseases which can cause health complications.

Tonsillitis can be classified into three types, acute, sub-acute and chronic. Here we are primarily concerned with the acute tonsillitis. At the onset, tonsillitis is an acute infective condition. Repeated attacks of tonsillitis may lead to chronic tonsillitis. This infection occurs most commonly among children. High temperature, chills etc are the symptoms that you might experience at the outset of the disease. You might also find uncomfortable while opening your mouth. There would be signs of swelling, tenderness, persistent pain in the throat, headache etc.

Acute tonsillitis or strep throat may be caused by bacteria or viral infection. It generally lasts for about 4-6 days. Some of the causes of this type of tonsillitis may include

1) Streptoccal or hemophilus bacteria.

2) Adenovirus or Epstein-Barr virus, which also causes mononucleosis

3) Diphtheria, a serious disease, produces a false membrane in the throat. It can however be prevented by the DPT vaccine.

The acute form commonly begins with mild to severe sore throat. In most of the cases, the acute form of tonsillitis is due to Group A Beta Hemolytic Streptococcus. Some of the symptoms of tonsillitis in its acute form are

1) Moderate to high fever

2) Onset of severe sore throat

3) Dysphagia, tender cervical lymphadenopathy, and erythematous/exudative tonsils

4) Painful or difficulty in swallowing

5) Tenderness of the lymph nodes located below the jaw.

6) Red, enlarged tonsils that may or may not have pus on the surface or in the pits

As far as the treatment of acute tonsillitis is concerned, antibiotics and over the counter pain medication are used. The treatment focuses on maintaining adequate hydration, caloric intake, controlling pain and fever. Thus it is advised that oral fluids must be taken in ample amounts. Penicillin and amoxicillin can easily cure tonsillitis caused by bacteria. However, if the infection is caused by virus then the only treatment possible is to give medication to reduce fever and pain.

Suggested Reading:
what causes tonsillitis
how contagious is tonsillitis
benefits of tonsillectomy for tonsillitis

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