(Last Updated on : 02/03/2017)
Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils. This is the fleshy cluster of tissue situated on both sides of the back of the throat that fight off germs that enter the body through the mouth. The tonsils become enlarged and red, and can be coated with a yellow, grey or white substance.
Tonsils are valuable organs of selective elimination and perform a 2 fold function. Firstly, they protect the throat against disease germs. Secondly, they serve as barometers for indicating infection elsewhere in the body, when they become sore and swollen. Normally, the tonsils are about the size of a lima bean but they can become very much larger if severely infected.
Types of Tonsilitis
There are 3 main types of tonsillitis and these can be mentioned as follows:
Acute Tonsillitis: Acute tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils caused by cold and flu and lasts for a few days.
Subacute Tonsillitis: Subacute tonsillitis is most commonly caused by Actinomyces, a normal mouth bacterium that can cause infection.
Chronic Tonsillitis: Enlargement of the tonsils accompanied by repeated attacks of infection are known as chronic tonsillitis. This can last for long periods if not treated properly.
Causes of Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is generally caused by bacteria and viruses. Tonsillitis may also be at times be caused by infection of Spirochaeta
, in this case called Vincent's Angina
or Plaut-Vincent Angina
Symptoms of Tonsillitis
The onset of tonsillitis is manifested by a pain in swallowing, a sensation of chill and fever. On visual examination, the tonsils are found to be enlarged, engorged and covered with a varying amount of whitish or grey material i.e. the purulent discharge.
Prevention and Treatment of Tonsillitis
In case of children to prevent tonsillitis one should avoid letting the child near anyone who already has tonsillitis or a sore throat. Sometimes it is infectious. One must make sure to practice good hand-washing habits and teach the child to do the same.
Tonsillitis can be successfully treated by the natural methods
. The treatment of tonsillitis
must start with hot fomentation of the front of the neck and steps should be taken to keep the region warm. Surgery for the removal of the tonsils is necessary only in very rare cases, when tonsils are seriously diseased, rugged and contain hopelessly incurable pus pockets.