Tonsilitis

Tonsilitis

Tonsillitis is a condition when the tonsils become inflamed and sore. A virus or bacteria can cause it.

The Tonsils are a rounded mass of lymphoid tissue found in the back of the throat. They can be clearly seen when the mouth is open and the tongue is depressed. They are normally pink in colour.

Tonsils are part of the body's immune system, helping to protect against microorganisms. Tonsils store white blood cells, which engulf bacteria and viruses as they enter the nose and mouth. Inflammation in the tonsils with swelling, redness and pain means that the immune system is fighting an infection and immune cells are being stimulated to produce antibodies.

Tonsillitis commonly occurs in pre-school and school aged children. Viral and bacterial tonsillitis can occur in people of all ages, but streptococcal tonsillitis is more common between the ages of 5 - 10 years.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Tonsils become red and swollen
• May be patches of white discharge on the tonsils
• Sore throat and difficulty swallowing
• Headache
• Fever and chills
• Enlarged sore glands in the head and neck
• Fatigue and lethargy

It is difficult for a doctor to tell if the infection is viral or bacterial based on the signs and symptoms alone.

TREATMENT OPTIONS
Always consult your Doctor for diagnosis and advice. In no way is this information intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner.
It is important to make sure that the patient is drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Paracetamol can help relieve pain and fever. Remember aspirin should not be given to children 16 years and under.
Antibiotics will only be prescribed if the Doctor suspects that the cause of the Tonsillitis is bacterial. To be sure, a swab is taken of the throat and sent for testing to identify the microorganisms responsible.
If the patient is drooling and having difficulty breathing, or is unable to eat or drink, seek medical attention immediately.

DIET HINTS
• Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Soups and broths are soothing and warm on a sore throat.
• Help prevent recurrent tonsillitis by eating a healthy diet. Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, including wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy products, beans and pulses such as lentils and chickpeas.
• Keep sweets to a minimum, including soft drinks and other beverages high in added sugar.

VITAMINS/MINERALS/HERBS
Nutritional supplements may only be of benefit if dietary intake is inadequate.
• Supplementation with vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E may help improve immune function in the elderly.
• Herbs traditionally used to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat include liquorice root, sage, propolis, echinacea, capsicum, golden seal and marshmallow root.

PHARMACIST'S ADVICE
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Follow the Diet Hints.
2. Get plenty of rest. Sleep can help the body fight infection.
3. Aim to exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help boost immunity.
4. Your Pharmacist may suggest an antiseptic gargle.
5.If dietary intake is inadequate nutritional supplements may be of benefit