The tonsils are special lymph nodes located on either sides at the back of the throat, behind the tongue. They play a major role in trapping infection causing germs. Tonsils contain antibodies and cells that can tackle infections from spreading into the body. Tonsils store white blood cells and form part of the body's immune system. But when virus or bacteria infect the tonsils, a person suffers from tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is often noticed in children. Tonsillitis usually spreads from person to person by contact. Tonsillitis can in some cases lead to secondary infection of the middle ear or scarlet fever.
Symptoms of tonsillitis include swollen glands at the back of the neck and dark red tonsils. The voice may sound different. The person may have fever and chills. There may be headache and severe sore throat. The patient may have difficulty in swallowing. Viral infections cause milder symptoms. A throat culture or rapid strep test is used to test whether the tonsillitis is triggered by viral or bacterial infection.
Often tonsillitis is caused due to respiratory virus infections such as strep throat. Over-the-counter medications may be used to reduce pain and fever. Suitable antibiotics are prescribed to tackle the streptococcal bacteria, if that is identified as the source of tonsillitis. These days doctors do not recommend surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy). Adequate rest, plenty of warm fluids and smooth foods can bring considerable relief to a person suffering from tonsillitis.
Also known as otorhinolaryngolongists or ENT specialists, otolaryngolongists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the ear, nose and throat. After completing medical school, a one year residency in general surgery is compulsory further followed by four years of residency in otolaryngology. Being specialists in the ENT organs, otolaryngolongists perform the following functions:
Modern techniques used in the field of otolaryngology
ENT field has seen a lot of innovations in use of equipment and technology, modern methods have paved avenues for better treatment methods.
Guide to choose the right otolaryngologist
When the pharynx is inflamed, it is referred to as a sore throat or Pharyngitis. This condition is a common occurrence when there is any viral upper respiratory infection. In severe cases, Pharyngitis can also be indicative of diphtheria, gonorrhea or HIV. Pharyngitis is usually caused by micro organisms such as Streptococcus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae cause bacterial pharyngitis. This condition is contagious and is usually noticed in the winter months. Allergies, exposure to smoke and pollutants can cause sore throat and pharyngitis due to postnasal drip. If left untreated, pharyngitis can lead to rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, tonsillitis or pneumonia.
A person suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection such as pharyngitis will have sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. Accompanying fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes in the neck will also be noticed. Other symptoms of pharyngitis include cough, swollen tonsils and post nasal drip. There may be headache and earache. A physician will check the patient's eyes, throat and lymph nodes in the neck. A throat swab culture is done to diagnose the cause of infection. Bacterial infection or strep throat is treated with suitable antibiotics.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 30, 2023