Are my Tonsils Inflamed?

By Dr. Andrew Parker
August 18, 2016
Category: Health
Tags: tonsillitis   throat pain  

Are your tonsils inflamed? If you, or more likely, your child aged 5 to 15, is diagnosed with tonsillitis, it means the tonsilitistonsils are swollen, red and painful. Dr. Andrew Parker, your New Canaan and Norwalk otolaryngologist, diagnoses bacterial and viral tonsillitis, treating it accurately so young patients make a full recovery.

What are Tonsils?

Tonsils are oval-shaped pieces of lymphoid tissue located at the back most sides of the throat (pharyngeal tonsils) and back of the tongue (lingual tonsils). While small and insignificant looking, they defend against viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, tonsils themselves become infected with the very things they try to protect us from--micro-organisms such as:

  • the Herpes visus
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • the Epstein-Barr virus
  • the measles virus

Kinds of Tonsilitis

Inflamed tonsils fall into three categories: acute, chronic and recurrent. While young children and adults may contract tonsillitis, the most common age group is school children, ages 5 to 15. Left untreated, tonsillitis, though common, can lead to serious complications such as rheumatic fever, which affects the heart and joints, and post streptococcal pyelonephritis, a serious infection of the kidneys.

Problems accompanying tonsillitis are a hoarse voice, fever, fatigue, bad breath, and difficulty/soreness associated with swallowing. Typically, these signs and symptoms bring patients to Dr. Parker's New Canaan or Norwalk office.

Other problems associated with inflamed tonsils include pus-filled abscess of the tonsils, labored and obstructed breathing and even sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when tonsils are so enlarged they block the airway, causing loud snoring and episodes of breathing cessation.

Diagnosing and Treating Enlarged Tonsils

At Parker Ear, Nose and Throat in New Canaan or Norwalk, your otolaryngologist will look down your throat with a small flashlight. He will also feel the cervical lymph nodes, check for fever and palpate the abdomen as the spleen sometimes is involved in tonsillitis. He will also swab the throat to test for strep bacteria.

When a throat culture is positive for strep bacteria, the doctor will prescribe penicillin or comparable antibiotic and recommend rest, extra hydration. saltwater gargling and over the counter pain relievers as needed. Very enlarged and repeatedly infected tonsils may require surgical removal, or tonsillectomy, usually performed on an outpatient basis.

Don't Ignore Inflamed Tonsils

If you or a loved one are suffering from sore, inflamed tonsils, don't wait. Call Dr. Andrew Parker at Parker Ear, Nose and Throat in Norwalk and New Canaan. Dr. Parker is a Diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology. You can trust him for accurate and compassionate diagnosis and treatment. Call (203) 866-8121 for an appointment.

 

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