What Is Tonsillitis?
The two lymph nodes located on each side of the back of the throat are called tonsils. They function as a defense mechanism in preventing infections to the body. They prevent bacteria and virus from entering the body through the mouth. Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected. Though tonsillitis can occur at any age, it commonly occurs in children, especially from preschool age through their mid-teens.
Tonsillitis is of two types:
- Recurrent tonsillitis: Multiple episodes of acute tonsillitis every year.
- Chronic tonsillitis: Episodes last longer than acute tonsillitis
People with chronic tonsillitis may slowly start to experience obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the airway swells and prevents them from sleeping well. The infection can worsen and spread to other parts of the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Tonsillitis?
- A very sore throat, swollen tonsils
- Fever, bad breath, difficulty or pain in swallowing
- Neck and jaw tenderness caused by swollen lymph nodes
- A scratchy-sounding voice
- Chills, stomach aches, headaches, earaches
- Tonsils that appear swollen and red, and/ or have white or yellow spots
Very young children may also feel irritable, experience excessive drooling or poor appetite.
What Are The Causes Of Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection of the tonsils. Virus infections are more common causes of tonsillitis. The viruses that can cause tonsillitis are influenza virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, enterovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, measles virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus.
Bacterial tonsillitis is most often caused by Streptococcus pyogenes.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Tonsillitis?
- Use throat lozenges.
- Drink plenty of fluids, take full rest.
- Use a humidifier or oil heater to moisten the air in your room.
- If your doctor has prescribed you antibiotics, please complete the course. Do not leave taking antibiotics in the middle if you start feeling better.
- Wash your hands often, especially when you come into contact with someone having a cough, a sore throat, or is sneezing.
- Drink lots of warm water throughout the day.
- Try to treat tonsillitis naturally rather than depending upon antibiotics.
- Inhale steam 3-4 times a day.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Tonsillitis?
- Since tonsillitis is highly contagious, stay away from people with active infections.
- Do not gargle immediately after having food.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid drinking cold water and aerated drinks.
- Surgery should be avoided if possible, as most of the children get tonsillitis less often once they cross the age of 8.
What Are The Best Foods For Tonsillitis?
- Plain boiled rice without spices are easy to swallow, hence should be made staple diet during tonsillitis. Adding a clove while making rice will have healing properties.
- Spinach soup, corn soup, and mix vegetable soups are good for not only soothing the throat but also improving immunity which is the best way to prevent tonsillitis.
- Drink warm milk, hot tea and other hot beverages that help in soothing the throat.
- Ginger and honey in hot water is the best home remedy for tonsillitis.
- Scrambled eggs, idlis, mashed potatoes; boiled vegetables, oatmeals, corn flakes are easy to eat.
What Are The Worst Foods For Tonsillitis?
- Avoid citrus fruits like oranges as they aggravate the irritation of the throat.
- Avoid solid foods if they cause pain while eating. You can shift to solid foods as you feel better.
- Avoid dishes like sambar as it contains tamarind, a sour ingredient that can cause throat irritation.
- Avoid spicy foods till your throat irritation improves.
- Avoid fatty foods, fried foods, sugar and refined starch as they are difficult to digest, thus suppressing the immunity.
What Are The Medicines For Tonsillitis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Tonsillitis?
- Gargle with warm salt water or alum mixed in warm water several times a day (empty stomach or minimum two hours after your last food intake)