A peritonsillar abscess also called quinsy sore throat. Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is a common infection of the head and neck region. Peritonsillar abscess is a collection of infected material in the area around the tonsils. Neck pain associated with tender, swollen lymph nodes, referred ear pain and breath odour are also common. Physical signs include redness and edema in the tonsillar area of the affected side and swelling of the jugulodigastric lymph nodes. Symptoms start appearing 2-8 days before the formation of abscess. Peritonsillar abscess is most common in persons 20 to 40 years of age. Young children are seldom affected unless they are immunocompromised, but the infection can cause significant airway obstruction in children. Peritonsillar abscess is a complication of tonsillitis.
It is most often caused by a type of bacteria called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. Antipyretics should be administered for elevated temperature, and adequate analgesia should be provided for pain. Antibiotics are also given to treat the infection. Antibiotics for sore throats may well reduce the risk of peritonsillar abscess but sore throats are so common and quinsy so rare that the number needed to treat (NNT) would be enormous. Penicillin used to be the antibiotic of choice for the treatment of peritonsillar abscess. Prompt and complete treatment of tonsillitis, especially bacterial tonsillitis, may help prevent formation of abscess. Needle aspiration or surgical drainage are used as described above. Often a single aspiration does not have to be repeated.
Peritonsillar Abscess Treatment Tips
1. Antibiotics are also given to treat the infection.
2. Use of high dose steroid prior to antibiotic therapy is more effective.
3. Penicillin used to be the antibiotic of choice for the treatment of peritonsillar abscess.