The Tonsils – Gateway to Defend the Body

Tonsils are lymphatic glands located to the top of the throat at the back of the mouth and can be seen when you open the mouth. Tonsils are part of the natural body defense as they help to filter bacteria and prevent them from entering the body that is why tonsillitis occurs frequently in the children.

Symptoms of tonsillitis:

1 – Sore throat that lasts more than 48 hours and might be severe at times.

2 – Difficulty in swallowing that prevents the child sometimes from even drinking fluids.

3 – Fever that might reach 40 degrees and can be associated with chills.

4 – Headaches, weakness, lack of appetite and sound changes.

5 – Sometime, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Signs of tonsillitis (found by the doctor):

1 – Swollen tonsils, which can sometimes be very severe.

2 – Redness of the tonsils with white patches of pus on them.

3 – Swelling and tenderness of the cervical lymph nodes.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis can be done easily by examining the mouth by using tongue blade to depress the tongue that way the doctor can see the swollen tonsils with the white patches of pus and redness on them. Sometimes, the doctor may find redness in the throat as well. To confirm the cause of the inflammation the doctor need to take a swab sample from the tonsils and the throat and send it to the lab.

Complications:

1 – Serious complications may occur as a result of inflammation of the tonsils like the spread of inflammation to the area around the tonsils and the formation of what is called peritonsillar abscess.

2 – Dehydration due to difficult or painful swallowing.

3 – Airway obstruction.

4 – Some complications may occur as a result of infection with cocci bacteria; these complications include rheumatic fever and inflammation of the liver and kidney.

The treatment:

1 – tonsillitis that results from infection with Streptococcus bacteria needs to be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin or erythromycin.

2 – Antipyretics such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.

3 – Gargling with warm salt water.

4 – Taking fluids frequently.

5 – Rest.

Tonsils Excision:

The actual Indications to tonsillectomy (tonsils removal) are few. The parents often complain of recurrent tonsillitis and forget that the tonsils were created to get infected because they defend the body against the bacteria, But the doctors may resort to a tonsillectomy in the following cases:

1 – Oral obstruction and swallowing difficulty caused by the continuing and large swelling of the tonsils.

2 – Recurrent peritonsillar abscess.

3 – Recurrent cervical supportive lymphadenitis.

4 – Suspicion of a presence of a tumor in the tonsils, especially when the swelling occurs in one tonsil or when the swelling progresses rapidly.

The complications of excision:

1 – Dry throat for Five days on average.

2 – Ear pain and inflammation of the larynx.

3 – Bad breath.

4 – Severe hemorrhage sometimes.

A final word:

Tonsils are considered part of the means of defense in the body. The tonsils of the children are subjected to inflammation frequently. It is not recommended to remove the tonsils unless the swollen tonsils are very large and interfering with swallowing, or if the doctor suspected the presence of malignant disease there.