- It monitors the quality of the air, food and water which enter our body
- It plays a major role in body immunity mechanism and antibody reaction most probably in childhood
- It is helpful in forming lymphocytes (white blood cells) which protect our body as a defence mechanism.
- It becomes as red swollen inflamed mass (danger light) indicating any infection entering our body
- It traps the germs that enter the body by its antibodies and drains it into the lymph node for elimination
- It is also supposed to kill bacteria that enter into the tonsil through the blood stream.
- Acute tonsillitis is a sudden onset inflammation that lasts for about 4 to 6 days. It is an uncomplicated form which commonly affects children of ages 5-10.
- Chronic tonsillitis occurs when there is recurrent infection. They remain infected and do not respond to treatment. They are usually a complicated form which are seen in maltreated or untreated children and teenagers.
- Membranous – which is most common in children
- Follicular – having follicles in the outer layer which appears as yellow dots on the tonsil surface. It is common in young adults.
- Bacterial or viral infection – Bacteria, specifically beta-hemolytic streptococci, is the main offender. Virus can also cause tonsillitis. The source of infection may be food or water or droplet infection from coughing or mucous secretions of an infected person.
- It also occurs as an allergic reaction to allergens, for example pollens, cold things, food preservatives, drugs, mechanical injury, etc.
- Red swollen tonsils – felt or visualised as a lump in throat
- Sore throat which induces constant hawking and choking
- Difficulty and pain during swallowing – due to obstruction. Sore throat is felt as tight constricted area, so there is delay in eating, which further produces aversion to food and weight loss.
- Difficulty in breathing – due to the blockage of air way by enlarged tonsil. This may lead to snoring, mouth breath and restlessness at night due to sleep apnea (large pauses between two breaths). Due to sleeplessness at night, there will be excessive tiredness in daytime.
- Poor growth and development due to air hunger and lack of appetite or aversion.
- Excess salivation and dribbling of saliva when mouth breath predominates
- Ear ache and bad breath (halitosis) due to infection and pus formation
- White spots or yellow or grey coating over the tonsils
- Painful or painless lymph node enlargement below the angle of lower jaw
- Constitutional disturbances like fever with chill and tiredness
- Recurrent or repeated attack of cold and cough.
- CSOM- chronic suppurative ear disorder
- Quinsy – peritonsilar abscess
- Headache with sinusitis
- Act as a septic focus which may cause septicaemia
- Obstruction causing choking
- Rheumatism and heart strain in case of infection with haemolytic streptococci bacteria.
Culture and sensitivity test – Tonsillitis can also be diagnosed specifically by performing a strep test (throat culture). No growth in the culture reveals viral infection. In this case, it is better to avoid antibiotics. The growth in the culture indicates bacterial infection. Physicians often do sensitivity test to select the potent medicines.
Blood tests – leucocytes and ESR will be high
In suspected cases, biopsy has to be done to rule out diphtheria, etc.
2. Relief of pain or symptoms
- General health
- Nutritious diet
- Well-ventilated room
- Warm saltwater gargling for soothing effect
- Plenty of liquids to avoid painful swallowing of solid food
- Acidic drinks like cold beverages
- Tin packed foods with preservatives
- Spicy and chilly foods
- Alcoholic drinks
- For acute infection – Anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, anti-septic
- For relief of pain- analgesics
- For Allergic conditions- Anti-histamine drugs
As a last resort, to reduce recurrent infection in tonsils, they are removed. The procedure of removing tonsils from the throat is called a tonsillectomy. It simply frees the airway or swallowing obstruction due to swollen tonsils, but won’t guarantee the stoppage of the infection which recurs and spreads inward.
Tonsillitis is not a pure surgical complaint. It can be cured in 70-80 per cent of cases. In Allopathy itself there is lot of controversy in doing surgery and removing the tonsils. But as the disease becomes resistant to antibiotics and not knowing what else to do, they deviate to surgery.