Tonsillitis: what it is, when it is viral or bacterial and treatment

Tonsillitis corresponds to the inflammation of the tonsils, which are the lymph nodes present in the back of the throat and whose function is to defend the body against infections by bacteria and viruses. However, when the person has the most compromised immune system due to the use of drugs or diseases, it is possible for viruses and bacteria to enter the body and lead to inflammation of the tonsils.

Tonsillitis leads to symptoms such as sore throat, difficulty swallowing and fever, and can be classified into two types according to the duration of symptoms:

  • Acute tonsillitis , in which the infection lasts up to 3 months;
  • Chronic tonsillitis , in which the infection lasts more than 3 months or is recurrent.

It is important that tonsillitis is identified and treated according to the recommendation of the general practitioner or otorhinolaryngologist, and the use of medications according to the cause of the tonsillitis is usually indicated, in addition to gargling with salt water or water with bicarbonate, which helps to relieve symptoms and fight the infectious agent, mainly bacteria.

How to know if it is viral or bacterial?

To find out if it is viral or bacterial, the doctor must evaluate the signs and symptoms presented by the person. In the case of bacterial tonsillitis, the main microorganisms involved in the inflammation of the tonsils are streptococcal and pneumococcal bacteria and the symptoms are stronger and longer lasting, in addition to the presence of pus in the throat.

On the other hand, when caused by viruses, the symptoms are milder, there is no pus in the mouth and there may be hoarseness, pharyngitis, cold sore or inflammation of the gums, for example. Learn how to identify viral tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis symptoms

Tonsillitis symptoms can vary according to the state of the person’s immune system and the cause of inflammation of the tonsils, the main ones being:

  • Sore throat that lasts more than 2 days;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Red and swollen throat;
  • Fever and chills;
  • Dry irritating cough;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Ill be.

In addition, when tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, white spots in the throat can be seen, and it is important for the doctor to assess whether antibiotic treatment is started. Learn more about bacterial tonsillitis.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

The viruses and bacteria that can cause tonsillitis can be transmitted from person to person by inhaling droplets released into the air when coughing or sneezing. In addition, the transmission of these infectious agents can also happen through kissing and contact with contaminated objects.

Therefore, it is important that some measures are taken to prevent transmission, such as washing your hands well, not sharing plates, glasses and cutlery, and covering your mouth when coughing.

How the treatment is done

The treatment for tonsillitis can be done with the use of antibiotics derived from Penicillin, in the case of inflammation caused by bacteria, and remedies to control fever and pain, if the tonsillitis is of viral origin. The disease lasts an average of 3 days, but it is common for the doctor to recommend the use of antibiotics for 5 or 7 days to ensure the elimination of bacteria from the body, and it is important that the treatment be done for the period indicated by the doctor to avoid complications.

Drinking plenty of water, increasing the consumption of foods rich in vitamin C and giving preference to the consumption of liquid or pasty foods also helps to better control the disease. In addition, a good home treatment for tonsillitis is to gargle with warm salted water twice a day, as the salt is antibacterial and may help in the clinical treatment of the disease. Check out some home remedies for tonsillitis.

In the most severe cases, when tonsillitis is recurrent, surgery may be indicated by the doctor to remove the tonsils.

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