Tonsillitis Q & A

What are the tonsils?

The tonsils are the 2 masses of soft tissue that sit at the back of the throat covered by pink mucosa, the lining of the mouth. They're part of the lymphatic system, which means they help fight infection.

What’s tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected. This is a frequent infection children suffer, and causes swelling, sore throat, and fever. These symptoms usually go away in 7-10 days. Both viruses and bacteria can cause tonsillitis.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Yes, the viral or bacterial infection that causes tonsillitis can spread from person to person. Proper hygiene helps limit the spread of any infection, including those that cause tonsillitis.

What treatments are available for tonsillitis?

The treatment for tonsillitis depends on its cause. For viral infections, home remedies including rest, fluids, gargling with salt water, and throat lozenges may beall that's needed. For bacterial infections, an antibiotic can clear it up. Surgery is an option for those who have chronic problems with tonsillitis. Dr. Astrachan and Dr. Hecht help patients determine the cause of their infections and prescribe the right course of treatment.

Does tonsillitis require the removal of the tonsils?

Tonsillectomy was once a very common procedure, but it's becoming more rare today. Dr. Astrachan and Dr. Hecht only recommend it for those who have chronic or recurring tonsillitis or infections that don't respond to treatment.

Is tonsillitis dangerous?

People with chronic tonsillitis may struggle with obstructive sleep apnea or breathing problems while sleeping. The infection, if it doesn't go away, can worsen and spread to the rest of the body, a condition called tonsillar cellulitis. These complications are rare, but possible. If tonsillitis is from a bacterial infection, finishing the full course of antibiotics helps reduce the risk of complications.

When should someone see a doctor?

Many cases of tonsillitis resolves without intervention. Patients should make an appointment with Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut if they experience:

  • A fever higher than 103 degrees
  • Muscular weakness
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Sore throat lasting more than 48 hours

Those who are experiencing these symptoms, or have other concerns about tonsillitis, can make an appointment with Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut for help.

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