Ear, Nose & Throat - Management Of Common Ailments (Part 7) - Tonsillitis

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Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils, which are found at the back of your throat. Your tonsils play a role in helping fight infection in the nose, throat and sinuses. Even though the tonsils fight infection, the tonsils themselves can become infected.

The most commons viruses causing tonsillitis/pharyngitis are: rhinovirus; coronavirus; adenovirus;…

The most commons viruses causing tonsillitis/pharyngitis are: rhinovirus; coronavirus; adenovirus;…

Most cases of tonsillitis are caused by a virus. The viruses that cause colds, flu and laryngitis and croup (infection of the trachea or windpipe in children) are some of the viruses that cause tonsillitis. You can catch tonsillitis in the same way you catch a cold or flu.

The bacteria that cause strep throat can also cause tonsillitis at the same time.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of tonsillitis include:

·         A sore throat and pain when you swallow.

·         Red, swollen tonsils.

·         Fever.

·         Headache.

·         Tiredness.

·         White spots or white pus on your tonsils.

·         Swollen 'glands' (lymph nodes) in your neck.

·         Pain in your ears or neck.

What you and your doctor can do

You doctor will examine your throat and look at your tonsils to see if they are inflamed or if there are any signs of infection, such as white pus or white spots on your tonsils.

Because most people can fight the virus or bacteria on their own, your doctor will usually only prescribe antibiotics if they are concerned about complications.

Removing the tonsils for recurring tonsillitis is no longer recommended because:

·         Tonsillitis will often get better by itself as the body's immune system can take care of the infection without any treatment.

·         You can still have throat infections even after your tonsils have been removed.

·         Surgery can have risks such as bleeding and infection, but your doctor may consider tonsillectomy for people, especially children, who have:

·         Recurring tonsillitis.

·         Airway blockage that disturbs sleep (obstructive sleep apnoea) due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

·         An infection that produces pus in the tissue around the tonsils (peritonsillar abscess, also known as quinsy).

Could it be an allergy?

A blocked or runny nose, itchiness and sneezing can all be symptoms of allergy. Allergy occurs when a person's immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless for most people. These substances are known as allergens.

Tired of dealing with seasonal allergy symptoms?

Tired of dealing with seasonal allergy symptoms?

Allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with allergens such as pollens, dust mites, animal hair or mould, which are carried in the air.

These allergens trigger an antibody response releasing certain substances, one of which is called histamine.

Signs and symptoms

When allergens are breathed in, the release of histamine causes the lining of your nose to produce lots of mucus and to become swollen and inflamed. It causes your nose to run and itch, and violent sneezing may occur. Your eyes may also start to water and you may get a sore throat.

Symptoms range from mild or moderate to severe, where day-to-day function is affected. Symptoms may occur in a particular season, due to allergies to grass or tree pollens, or are present all year round (usually caused by allergies to house dust mites, moulds or animal hairs). Complications of allergic rhinitis may include:

·         Sleep disturbance.

·         Daytime tiredness.

·         Headaches.

·         Poor concentration.

·         Recurrent ear infections in children.

·         Recurrent sinus infections in adults.

·         Asthma, which is more difficult to control.

If you think your 'cold' may be an allergy, see your doctor for a diagnosis and advice on effective treatments to prevent the symptoms.

What you and your doctor can do

The first step is to try to identify what is causing the allergy and try to avoid or reduce exposure to it. Treatment options include: Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays - these contain a corticosteroid medicine that helps reduce inflammation and mucus in the nose. They are one of the most effective treatments for allergic rhinitis when used appropriately and can be used regularly for both children and adults. Higher strength nasal corticosteroid sprays require a prescription.

It is important that you are instructed on how to correctly deliver these sprays directly into your nose.

Antihistamines - these block histamine release, thereby reducing many irritating and uncomfortable allergic symptoms. Antihistamine nasal sprays and eye drops can be used. Antihistamines are not as effective as some other medications for the treatment of blocked nose and/or sinuses and you should discuss treatment with your doctor or pharmacist. Saline nasal sprays -these can be used to clear nasal congestion and reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms. They are usually more effective when used with other treatments for allergic rhinitis. Decongestant nasal sprays -  to relieve blocked feeling in the nose.

Treatment options include: Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays

Treatment options include: Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays

It is very important that these are only used for a maximum of five consecutive days. Decongestants aren't suitable for everyone. Allergen-specific immunotherapy - also known as desensitisation, this involves the administration of regular, gradually increasing amounts of allergen extracts by injections or by sublingual drops or tablets (under the tongue). Treatment is usually three to five years and is typically offered to those with severe allergic rhinitis. The therapy reduces the severity of symptoms and the need for regular medications. A clinical immunology/allergy specialist should initiate immunotherapy.

 
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