Tonsillitis Treatment in Cumberland, MD
Generally affecting children and early adolescents, tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, the ovular pads of tissue located at the back of the throat. Protecting the body from bacteria and viruses that enter through the mouth, the tonsils are the first line of defense for the immune system. However, this means that they can become infected by the very viruses and bacteria they defend against. Viral and bacterial infections are often the cause of tonsillitis. Because the immune system functionality of tonsils decreases after puberty, most cases of tonsillitis are found in children and rarely in adults. Tonsillitis is highly contagious, with children often catching it from close contact with friends, classmates and playmates. For this reason, it's important to avoid contact with others when infected. Though it can progress if left unchecked, tonsillitis is easily treatable, with antibiotics and less frequently with tonsil removal.
To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Cumberland that can provide tonsillitis treatment, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Dr. Emma McGowan online.
Patients with tonsillitis often experience visibly swollen and infected tonsils, accompanied by a sore throat and fever. Tonsils may be red in color and contain thick white or yellow patches. Other common tonsillitis symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Painful or difficult swallowing
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
- Scratchy voice
- Bad breath
- Stiff neck
A common complication of tonsillitis is obstructive sleep apnea (disruption of breathing during sleep). This is often the result of swollen airways, an equally common tonsillitis symptom. If left unchecked, the infection can progress and spread to other areas of the body, causing a condition known as tonsillar cellulitis. Another major complication of untreated tonsillitis, or one that can occur from an incomplete course of antibiotics, is the progression to more rare disorders that children are particularly susceptible to. These disorders include rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disorder effecting the internal tissues, heart and joints, and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the kidneys that results in excess retention of fluid in the blood and waste in the body.
To reach a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will run a complete physical assessment that includes an examination of the ear nose and throat, possible sites of migratory infection. They'll also look for signs of obstruction in breathing and respiratory function. Scarlatina, a rash often associated with the bacteria that can cause tonsillitis, and spleen enlargement are some indications of more serious infections that your healthcare provider will also inspect for. To test for the presence of bacteria, your healthcare provider will perform a throat swab of the back of your throat. If lab tests are positive, it's an indication of a bacterial infection, and if negative, it's more probable that a viral infection is driving the tonsillitis symptoms. If further testing is necessary, your healthcare provider will order a complete blood cell count (CBC) using a sample of your blood. This can help to isolate the cause of tonsillitis.
Treatment depends on a number of factors, including whether the infection is viral or bacterial and the frequency and severity of illness. If you have a viral infection then your healthcare provider won't prescribe antibiotics, as they don't treat the infection. A number of the following home remedies will likely be prescribed: rest, adequate hydration, cough drops or lozenges, warm fluids, saltwater gargles and air humidifiers to prevent dryness. To regulate fevers, treat pain and provide further comfort, you may ask your healthcare provider to recommend an over the counter cold and flu medication. With adequate rest and care, you should recover in seven to ten days.
If the cause of tonsillitis is bacterial, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed. It's extremely important to take the full round of antibiotics prescribed, even if symptoms improve. Failing to complete the full course of antibiotics can result in worsening infection that may spread to other parts of the body. More serious results of not fully completing the course of antibiotics include the development of acute disorders, including rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Though a tonsillectomy (tonsil removal) is much rarer today than it was in previous decades, should you experience recurring episodes or a bacterial case that doesn't respond to medication, your healthcare provider may prescribe surgery. Recurring episodes are characterized as more than seven episodes in a year, also called chronic tonsillitis. Complications that prompt a surgical referral include sores or abscesses in the throat that don't improve with medication, obstructive sleep apnea and other respiratory complications.
Tonsillitis is easily treatable when detected at the early stages. Don't let it progress to unnecessarily acute levels. To schedule a consultation with a qualified professional in Cumberland, who can provide tonsillitis treatment, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Dr. Emma McGowan online.
Medical Wellness Associates
Jeannette, PA 15644
8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm