Tonsil infections are common causes of sore throats in children and adults across the globe. The tonsils are actually a collection of immune cells that exist in the back of the throat. When they become infected, they can be very painful and irritating. Many people have their tonsils removed when they are kids because they cause continued problems. The tonsils are not required for a healthy life since people can have infected tonsils removed and not have problems for the rest of their life.
Tonsillitis is the technical term for inflammation of a certain collection of immune cells in the back of the throat. The usual cause of the inflammation is infection, but there can be other processes that occur that result in tonsillar inflammation. In children, the tonsils can become quite large when infected and very painful. They tend to have an exudate, or whitish material on them. When infected they become reddish and make swallowing difficult. The pain and difficulty swallowing lead many people to seek treatment for their tonsillitis. Some people also have bad breath, also known as halitosis when they have a tonsillitis infection.
Infected tonsils tend to be the result of certain bacteria. The most common causes can be Streptococcus and other related species. Streptococcus A is the causative agent in strep throat. Most people have had a case of strep throat at least one time in the their lifetime. Strep throat usually resolves on its own without treatment, but the use of antibiotics can help the infection to be cleared quicker. The antibiotics are prevent some of the disastrous consequences of strep throat, such as rheumatic fever and nephritis. Currently, antibiotics are given just to prevent these sequelae, not to improve symptoms.
If tonsillitis infection recurs frequently or a person has multiple cases of strep throat, most medical advice points to having a surgery to have the tonsils and adenoids removed. This prevents further episodes of tonsillitis infection and can improve symptoms dramatically. The procedure is relatively simple in pediatric patients and they heal very quickly. In adults, the healing time is prolonged and requires lots of pain medications. It usually takes several days for an adult to begin to eat regular food again while children can begin to eat relatively soon. Most kids can have ice cream and other soft foods within the first day.
Tonsil infections can be easy to deal with if a person gets medical help quickly. If the problem is allowed to get worse, tonsil infections can cause more problems and be very uncomfortable. The infection can also spread to other areas of the mouth can head and cause worse symptoms. It is always worse to let an infection spread than to treat it at its source. Infected tonsils with strep A can result in many other bodily problems, so appropriate management and care of tonsil infections is very appropriate.