Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils that is usually accommodating by a sore throat. It is extremely common, especially in children and can easily be cured.
If your throat is swelled up and it hurts to swallow, you may have this inflammation. Other symptoms include a fever, an ear ache, tendness of the jaw and throat and a headache. Your tonsils will also become enlarged in the back of your throat and white spots may also form on them. If you have any of these symptoms, you are most likely suffering from tonsillitis.
It is best to see your doctor who will be able to take a throat swap and a clear indication of what is wrong. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis.
There are two different types of tonsil infections. A viral infection is usually caused by a sore throat or, in some cases, glandular fever. You will not be able to treat a viral infection with antibiotics. Instead you can take certain pain medications, throat lozenges and throat medications to stop the painful symptoms.
You can also try gargling with salt water and drinking cold drinks which can reduce the swelling and painful sensation. An inflammation of the tonsils called by a viral infection will normally clear up on its own after a week.
However, in about 15 percent of tonsillitis cases, the problem is caused by a bacterial infection. In most cases this is the streptococcus bacteria, or strep. You will need to take antibiotics, normally penicillin which will be prescribed by your doctor.
The antibiotics will usually start to take affect and relate the symptoms within a couple of days. However, you must continue to take the medication until all the pills are gone. If you do not, the bacterial infection could easily return.
Sometimes your tonsil symptoms are actually not caused by tonsillitis at all, but are the result of tonsil stones. Tonsil stones are little while balls of food and debris that get stuck on your tonsils and cause your throat to become irritated. Other symptoms include a scratchy throat and bad breath.
If you feel like there is something caught in your throat and notice white spots on your tonsils but do not feel feverish, achy or sick in any other way, then you could have tonsil stones.
The good news is that these balls can usually be removed at home. You just need to cough, gargle or poke them loose. The bad news is that these white balls emit a putrid smell. When removing the stones, always wash your hands and mouth. To prevent tonsil stones and tonsillitis in the future, make sure you stick to a regular oral hygiene routine and rinse your mouth out after meals.