What Causes Tonsillitis In Adults

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  1. Tonsillitis is a common childhood illness but teenagers and adults can get it too. It usually goes away on its own after a few days.
  2. Tonsillitis — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment for this common cause of sore throat in children.
What Causes Tonsillitis In Adults

Tonsillitis - my. Dr. com. au. Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils. The tonsils are 2 small glands on either side of the throat. When a person has tonsillitis their tonsils become inflamed, infected and swollen. What do the tonsils do? The tonsils play a key role in helping to protect the body against infection.

This is especially important in young children, whose immune systems are still developing. The tonsils act as a barrier, trapping an infection and stopping it spreading to other parts of the body. The infection may stay in the tonsils, causing tonsillitis. As a person gets older their immune system becomes stronger, and the body doesn't rely on the tonsils as much to fight infection.

That's why tonsillitis is more common in children. What causes tonsillitis? Most cases (around 8. Many types of viruses can cause tonsillitis, including cold and flu viruses. These can spread easily from person to person through coughing or sneezing, hand contact and direct contact with the virus on surfaces (e. Some cases of tonsillitis are caused by a bacterial infection, usually the Streptococcus type of bacteria).

A common cause for tonsillitis is also infectious mononucleosis, or glandular fever virus. What are the symptoms of tonsillitis? Regardless of whether tonsillitis is caused by a virus or by bacteria, the symptoms may include: Sore throat; Pain with swallowing; Fever; Headache; A general feeling of being unwell; Tiredness; Bad breath; Painful, swollen lymph nodes (glands) at the side of the neck; Red, swollen tonsils; Pus or white spots on the tonsils; Pain in the ears.

If a skin rash is also present, it may suggest the cause is bacteria. If a person has tonsillitis caused by the flu virus, they may also have flu symptoms such as aching muscles.

Sore throat is one of the most common of medical complaints. As many as 1 out of every 10 Americans develops a "strep throat" every year, and 40 million adults will.

People with a cold may also have a runny nose and cough. Sometimes younger children with tonsillitis may have nausea, vomiting and tummy pain.

Tonsillitis a contagious infection with symptoms like sore throat, fever, pain with swallowing, headache, runny nose, hoarseness, ear pain, red eyes, and cough. Tonsillitis occurs primarily in children and sometimes in adults. It can be classified as acute, recurrent and chronic tonsillitis. Both the tonsils and adenoids act. Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the pharyngeal tonsils (glands at the back of the throat, visible through the mouth).

Who gets tonsillitis? Anyone can get tonsillitis, but it is most common in children. Some people have tonsillitis that keeps returning. When should I see the doctor? A child who is unwell with a sore throat and fever should be seen by a doctor. A person should also see a doctor if the symptoms last for more than a few days and are not improving, or if the symptoms are severe and stopping them from eating or drinking properly.

Anyone who is having difficulty breathing or extreme difficulty swallowing should see a doctor. A doctor may take a swab of the throat to collect some of the infected cells. This is sent to a pathology lab for testing, to see what is causing the tonsillitis. Sometimes a doctor may order a blood test to check for any abnormalities. Complications of tonsillitis. In rare cases a person will develop complications from tonsillitis, generally only when the infection is caused by bacteria.

Complications may include: Breathing difficulties when sleeping: known as obstructive sleep apnoea. Middle ear infection called otitis media. Quinsy: an abscess (collection of pus) that develops between a tonsil and the side of the throat (also known as a peritonsillar abscess); Deep infection in the surrounding areas of the throat (tonsillar cellulitis).

In very rare cases the infection may spread and cause inflammation in other parts of the body, for example: Rheumatic fever: causes inflammation throughout the body, including in the joints and heart. Glomerulonephritis: inflammation of the kidneys. Scarlet fever: causes an itchy skin rash. Treatment of tonsillitis. If a throat swab shows that tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics.

If tonsillitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective. The following steps may help to relieve the symptoms of tonsillitis whether it is caused by a virus or bacteria: Treat pain and fever: mild pain relieving medicine such as paracetamol (e. Panadol) or ibuprofen (e. Nurofen) may help with throat pain and fever.

Note: children under the age of 1. Drink plenty of fluids: this is important to prevent dehydration. Get plenty of rest. Eat soft, cool foods such as jelly and custards: a person with tonsillitis may not feel like eating much, but their appetite should return to normal within a few days.

Have cold drinks, ice to suck or ice blocks/ice cream: these may help to soothe throat pain. Easter Craft Gift Ideas For Adults here. Gargle: adults and children who are old enough to gargle often get relief with salt water gargling. There are also other types of throat gargles available, e.

Betadine throat gargle. Consider throat lozenges or sprays: adults and older children may get some relief by sucking on throat lozenges or using a throat spray. Do I need my tonsils out? People who have frequent bouts of tonsillitis that stop them from functioning normally, cause difficulty breathing because of enlarged tonsils, or who have bacterial tonsillitis that doesn't respond to treatment may need an operation to remove the tonsils (called a tonsillectomy).

Tonsillitis - NHS. UKCheck if you have tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can feel like a bad cold or flu. The tonsils at the back of your throat will be red and swollen.

The main symptoms in children and adults are: a sore throatdifficulty swallowinghoarse or no voicea high temperature of 3. C or abovecoughingheadachefeeling sickearachefeeling tired. Sometimes the symptoms can be more severe and include: swollen painful glands in your neck - feels like a lump on the side of your neckwhite pus- filled spots on your tonsils at the back of your throatbad breath. What tonsils with pus- filled spots can look like. Tonsils with pus- filled spots at the back of the throat.

If you’re not sure it’s tonsillitis. Look at other sore throat symptoms. How long tonsillitis lasts. Symptoms will usually go away after 3 to 4 days. Tonsillitis isn’t contagious but the infections that cause it are (for example, colds and flu).

To stop these infections from spreading: stay off work or keep your child at home until you or your child feel betteruse tissues when you cough or sneeze and throw them away afterwash your hands after coughing or sneezing. How to treat tonsillitis yourself. Tonsillitis usually has to run its course. To help ease the symptoms: get plenty of restdrink cool drinks to soothe the throattake paracetamol or ibuprofen (don’t give aspirin to children under 1.

How to gargle with salty water. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water - warm water helps salt dissolve.

Gargle with the solution then spit it out - don’t swallow it. Repeat as often as you like. This isn’t suitable for younger children. A pharmacist can help with tonsillitis. Speak to a pharmacist about tonsillitis. They can give advice and suggest treatments to ease a sore throat like: lozengesthroat sprays antiseptic solutions.

Find a pharmacy. See a GP if: you have white pus- filled spots on the tonsils at the back of your throatthe sore throat is so painful it’s difficult to eat or drinkthe symptoms don’t go away after 4 days. What happens at your appointment. Your doctor can usually tell its tonsillitis by asking about your symptoms and looking at the back of your throat. Sometimes they might: wipe a cotton bud at the back of your throat to test for bacteriaorganise a blood test to rule out glandular fever (if your symptoms are severe or won’t go away)Usually you’ll get any test results back within a couple of days.

Treatment from a GPTreatment will depend on what caused your tonsillitis: a virus (viral tonsillitis), which most children and adults have - this type has to run its course and antibiotics won’t helpbacteria (bacterial tonsillitis) - your GP may prescribe antibiotics. Usually your GP will have to wait for the test results to tell which type you have. It’s very rare that someone needs to have their tonsils taken out. This is usually only the case if you have severe tonsillitis that keeps coming back. Complications with tonsillitis (quinsy)Complications with tonsillitis are very rare. If they happen they mostly affect teenagers and young adults. Sometimes you can get a pocket filled with pus (abscess) between your tonsils and the wall of your throat.

This is called quinsy. See a GP urgently or go to A& E if you have: a severe sore throat that quickly gets worseswelling inside the mouth and throatdifficulty speakingdifficulty swallowingdifficulty breathingdifficulty opening your mouth.

These are signs of quinsy.

Tonsillitis - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis. The Facts. Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that causes inflammation.

It's most common in children aged 3 to 7, who have larger tonsils than adults and older children. The tonsils are made of lymphatic tissue. Their job is to produce antibodies that fight infection. Ironically, such tissue is quite prone to becoming infected itself. Tonsillitis can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Many cases of tonsillitis never reach the doctor's office. However, it is estimated that 1.

Tonsillectomy (tonsil removal) has always been the most common childhood operation, but it is considered a last resort for tonsillitis these days. Causes. There are three common causes of tonsillitis: Group A streptococcus, which are common bacteria that cause throat infections in 1 in 5 people, including adults.

Many people have no symptoms but they can still transmit the bacteria. Group A streptococcus can also cause strep throat.

It's also capable under some circumstances of causing more serious illness, such as rheumatic fever. Various respiratory viruses, especially cold and flu viruses, account for most cases of tonsillitis. These infections can be sometimes milder than bacterial infections, but it is often difficult to tell the difference between a viral and bacterial infection. Infectious mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein- Barr virus, can also produce symptoms of tonsillitis, especially in children. Symptoms and Complications.

The main symptom of tonsillitis is sore throat, but since the throat and ears share the same nerves, the pain is often felt in the ears. The pain is usually worse when swallowing. Very young children may not complain of a sore throat but may simply refuse to eat. Other symptoms can include: fevergeneral ill feelingtender lymph nodes in the neckheadachesvomiting. All forms of tonsillitis clear up without treatment.

It usually takes a few days for bacterial or normal viral tonsillitis to clear, but it can take weeks if mononucleosis is the cause. Because of possible complications associated with bacterial tonsillitis, doctors usually give antibiotics. One complication of bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, used to be common until doctors started treating bacterial tonsillitis with antibiotics. Your own immune response to Group A streptococcus can cause damage throughout the body, especially to the heart. This can cause permanent damage, resulting in heart disease years later. It's now extremely rare in Canada (only a few cases per year), though it is still a major problem in some countries. Another possible complication from bacterial tonsillitis is a peritonsillar abscesses (quinsy).

This occurs when a clump of bacteria are "walled off" by new tissue growth. The abscess is not in the tonsil itself but on one side of it. Unlike simple tonsillitis, quinsy tends to be felt on only one side of the throat, and people with this condition can often be seen tilting their head to one side to reduce pain.

Quinsy is more common in young adults with tonsillitis. Making the Diagnosis. Open your mouth and say "aaah" – when you do, the tonsils can be seen at the back of the throat and will be clearly red and inflamed. There's a tendency for viruses and bacteria to cause different types of inflammation. The Epstein- Barr virus, for example, often causes tiny red spots on the soft palate. Bacteria may leave a thin white membrane on the tonsils themselves. None of these symptoms, however, are reliable enough to diagnose the cause of tonsillitis from appearance alone, so often a throat swab is needed.

Traditionally, such swabs are then cultured to see what bacteria are present, but there are also rapid tests that can give results in minutes or hours. Finding group A streptococcus on the tonsils doesn't prove it's causing the inflammation, since so many people carry this bug with no ill effects. A person could be a healthy group A streptococcus carrier, whose tonsillitis is due to a virus. Blood tests are usually required to diagnose infectious mononucleosis. Treatment and Prevention.

If you have tonsillitis, you should rest and stay well hydrated. You can take acetaminophen* or ibuprofen to ease symptoms, but acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) should be avoided in children with viral infections, as it can lead to Reye's syndrome, a very dangerous condition that affects many organs, particularly the brain and liver. When bacteria are causing the infection, your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic. Most doctors will not prescribe antibiotics until tests confirm that bacteria are the cause. However, people with 3 out of following 4 characteristic symptoms may be treated with antibiotics "up- front" (before culture results are known): fever, discharge from the tonsils, no cough, and tender lymph nodes.

Few children get chronic or recurring infections. When a child has recurring tonsillitis, family members may be tested to see if they're asymptomatic (without symptoms) carriers of group A streptococcus.

American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the pharyngeal tonsils (glands at the back of the throat, visible through the mouth). The inflammation may involve other areas of the back of the throat, including the adenoids and the lingual tonsils (tonsil tissue at the back of the tongue).

There are several variations of tonsillitis: acute, recurrent, and chronic tonsillitis, and peritonsillar abscess. Viral or bacterial infections and immunologic factors lead to tonsillitis and its complications. Nearly all children in the United States experience at least one episode of tonsillitis.

Due to improvements in medical and surgical treatments, complications associated with tonsillitis, including mortality, are rare. Who gets tonsillitis? Tonsillitis most often occurs in children, but rarely in those younger than two years old. Tonsillitis caused by bacteria (streptococcus species) Streptococcus species typically occurs in children aged 5 to 1.

A peritonsillar abscess is usually found in young adults but can occur occasionally in children. The patient's history often helps identify the type of tonsillitis present (i. What causes tonsillitis? The herpes simplex virus, Streptococcus pyogenes (GABHS), Epstein- Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus, adenovirus, and the measles virus cause most cases of acute pharyngitis and acute tonsillitis. Bacteria cause 1. GABHS is the cause for most bacterial tonsillitis.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis? The type of tonsillitis determines what symptoms will occur.• Acute tonsillitis: Patients have a fever, sore throat, foul breath, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), odynophagia (painful swallowing), and tender cervical lymph nodes. Airway obstruction due to swollen tonsils may cause mouth breathing, snoring, nocturnal breathing pauses, or sleep apnea. Lethargy and malaise are common. These symptoms usually resolve in three to four days, but may last up to two weeks despite therapy.• Recurrent tonsillitis: This diagnosis is made when an individual has multiple episodes of acute tonsillitis in a year.• Chronic tonsillitis: Individuals often have chronic sore throat, halitosis, tonsillitis, and persistently tender cervical nodes.• Peritonsillar abscess: Individuals often have severe throat pain, fever, drooling, foul breath, trismus (difficulty opening the mouth), and muffled voice quality, such as the “hot potato” voice (as if talking with a hot potato in his or her mouth). What happens during the physician visit? Your child will undergo a general ear, nose, and throat examination as well as a review of the patient’s medical history.

A physical examination of a young patient with tonsillitis may find: • Fever and enlarged inflamed tonsils covered by pus.• Group A beta- hemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes (GABHS) can cause tonsillitis (“strep throat”) associated with the presence of palatal petechiae (tiny hemorrhagic spots, of pinpoint to pinhead size, on the soft palate). Neck nodes may be enlarged. A fine red rash over the body suggests scarlet fever. GABHS pharyngitis usually occurs in children 5- 1.

Open- mouth breathing and muffled voice resulting from obstructive tonsillar enlargement. The voice change with acute tonsillitis usually is not as severe as that associated with peritonsillar abscess.• Tender cervical lymph nodes and neck stiffness (often found in acute tonsillitis).• Signs of dehydration (found by examination of skin and mucosa).• The possibility of infectious mononucleosis due to EBV in an adolescent or younger child with acute tonsillitis, particularly when cervical, axillary, and/or groin nodes are tender. Severe lethargy, malaise, and low- grade fever accompany acute tonsillitis.• A grey membrane covering tonsils that are inflamed from an EBV infection. This membrane can be removed without bleeding.) Palatal petechiae (pinpoint spots on the soft palate) may also be seen with an EBV infection.• Red swollen tonsils that may have small ulcers on their surfaces in individuals with herpes simplex virus (HSV) tonsillitis.• Unilateral bulging above and to the side of one of the tonsils when peritonsillar abscess exists.

A stiff jaw, difficulty opening the mouth, and pain referred to the ear may be present in varying severity. Treatment. Tonsillitis is usually treated with a regimen of antibiotics. Fluid replacement and pain control are important. Hospitalization may be required in severe cases, particularly when there is airway obstruction. When the condition is chronic or recurrent, a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils is often recommended. Peritonsillar abscess may need more urgent treatment to drain the abscess.