Before knowing what the symptoms and causes of inflamed tonsils are, it is necessary to understand about tonsils and how they are useful to your body. Tonsils are located at the back of the mouth, each on the either side of the throat. These two oval masses are believed to function as lymphoid tissue. They serve as a body’s natural defense against invading bacteria and viruses that try to pass through mouth and nose.
However, when its defense mechanism is overcome, tonsils can become a site of acute or chronic infection. Infection which results into inflammation is the principal disturbance of tonsils.
What Are The Causes Of Swollen Tonsils?
- The main reason for hypertrophy or swollen tonsils is repeated tonsillitis.
- Tonsillitis occurs as a result of bacterial or viral infection. In most cases the cause is viral infection. If not entirely, at least half of tonsillitis cases are also afflicted due to bacterial infection. Beta hemolyticus streptococci, staphylococcus bacteria are often the causative bacterial organisms. Whereas H. influenza and cytomegalo virus (CMV) which are generally associated with common cold, are viral causes. It is difficult to differentiate between viral or bacterial infection, unless it is demonstrated by bacterial culture and other medical tests.
- Repeated tonsil infection which leads to swollen tonsils is more common in children as they have low immune level. In adults, it occurs due to bad oral hygiene, smoking, repeated throat and upper respiratory tract infection.
- People with low immunity or children who are in close contact with individuals who are suffering from tonsillitis are often at the risk of contracting the repeated infection.
- Sharing of toothbrush, drinking glasses, etc with an infected person can be a cause for tonsillitis.
- In many cases hypertrophy of tonsils occurs independently.
Inflamed Tonsils Symptoms
Symptoms Of Non Bacterial Tonsillitis
- It is generally a mild disease with short duration.
- The onset is gradual.
- The early complaints are feverishness, headache and food apathy.
- Sore throat, productive cough, is present in most cases and it is at its peak on third or fourth day of illness.
- Mild pain in throat and ears may be present.
- Fever usually does not exceed 101 to 102 degree F. It remains for three to five days.
- Complications are infrequent.
Symptoms Of Bacterial Tonsillitis
- It is acute in onset.
- High rise of fever, it can reach to 104 or 105 degree F.
- Throat pain and other throat symptoms are often absent for first 12 to 24 hours.
- Body ache, headache, and vomiting may be present.
- Pain in throat is usually noted by the end of first day.
- Pain in throat may be so excruciating, swallowing and speaking becomes difficult.
- The systemic symptoms become less as throat signs become apparent.
- Throat and tonsils appear fiery red and swollen.
- Yellow pus like material is seen adhered to the tonsils.
- Tonsils become enlarged.
- Swelling of cervical lymph nodes is present in most cases.
Home Remedies For Tonsillitis Treatment
In most cases swollen tonsils can be effectively treated with home remedies. It can also be used as a complementary remedy with drugs prescribed by the doctor. Home remedies are very effective for non bacterial infection.
- Salt water gargling: gargle with salt water at least three to four time in a day. It will help to reduce swelling as well as throat pain.
- Hot or cold compresses can be placed around the neck; the choice depends on the patient.
- Diet should be soft, warm substances are easily swallowed than those at room temperature.
- During acute stage, the patient should remain in bed. An adult patient should abstain from smoking.
- Adequate fluid intake should be maintained. Warm and non spicy soups, warm tea, and other beverages are helpful in reducing pain and swelling.
- A pinch of turmeric powder mixed in a cup of warm milk, taken two times in a day helps to reduce swelling as well as infection. Turmeric is known for its antibacterial activity.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice in warm water. Add a teaspoon of honey and sip it slowly. It helps to reduce swelling as well as assist in healing of tonsillitis.
- However, if bacterial infection is established or suspected, antibiotics are always first line of treatment. Consume them as prescribed by the doctor.