Tonsils are two stacks of tissue located at the back of the throat section, whose main role is to trap harmful foreign materials that enter through the mouth and the nose from entering in the respiratory system Burton (36).
Tonsils are of different sizes from one person to another, though their performance is affected by their size. According to Hareyan (1), tonsils are highly susceptible to most throat infections as a result attack by viruses and bacteria. One of the major infections of tonsils is tonsillitis which is caused by ‘Group A Beta-Hemolytic Streptococci’.
It is important to note that, many tonsil infections are more prevalent in children and middle-aged youths. When tonsil infections are not treated in time, they lead to sore throat complications which may make it hard for individuals to concentrate on their normal activities.
Common Tonsil Infections
One of the most popular tonsil infections is ‘tonsillitis’ which is caused by both bacterial and viral pathogens. According to Simon (81), the inflammation of tonsils by streptococci bacteria causes swellings and reddening of the tonsils.
Since this infection is mostly associated with middle aged youths and children, it has been a major cause of school absenteeism among schooling children since the throat becomes hypersensitive to any solid materials. Quite importantly, swallowing of materials from the mouth becomes a major problem among the victims of ‘tonsillitis’ (Burton 39).
Notably, tonsillitis has been revealed to reoccur in most cases, necessitating surgical operations to remove them. However, great care should be taken while removing the tonsils since in cases of poor operations; severe complications are usually experienced by the victims of the infection. On this basis, surgical removal of tonsils should be performed by qualified medical practitioners to avoid secondary complications of the tonsils.
As noted by Hareyan (1), tonsillitis is highly contagious through body fluids, thus necessitating limited contact between individuals with tonsillitis with the others. Since this infection is most common among school children, isolation is usually carried out in most cases to ensure low chances of the spread of the infection from infected children to the others.
Tonsillitis caused by streptococci bacteria is cured most effectively with penicillin with an aim of preventing the chances of developing sore fever (Simon 85). In most cases, the viral tonsillitis has no chemical treatment, though it heals within a period of about a week after its infection. When the virally transmitted tonsillitis re-occurs highly frequently, its ultimate treatment is usually surgical removal of the tonsils (Wetmore 335).
Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is a complicated condition of tonsillitis where pus usually forms in peritonsillar space besides the tonsils. Peritonsillar abscess is not restricted to age group and can even attack adults, unlike tonsillitis which only attacks children and middle-aged youths (Wetmore 331).
The major characteristics of Peritonsillar abscess is persistent pain at the throat within the base of the tonsils, prevalent fever and re-curing headache. Most importantly, neck pain initiates the entire condition where the lymph nodes within the neck region swell and protrude significantly. Though these signs may be confused with tonsillitis, limitation in the mouth opening ability is a distinct condition associated with Peritonsillar abscess (Simon 86).
The major cause of Peritonsillar abscess is a complication of acute tonsillitis as a result of its partial treatment. In this case, tonsil infection spreads to peritonsillar region where pus forms as a result of inflammation of the soft connective tissues within this region (Wetmore 327).
The treatment of Peritonsillar abscess is mainly through surgical drainage of the pus formed within the infected tissues. Meanwhile, clindamycin may be administered to individuals with this infection, since the infection is usually resistant to penicillin.
Guidelines for Mitigating Tonsil Infections
- Ensuring that updated vaccines needed at home for both viral and bacterial infections are administered to the children regularly
- Minimal interactions with infected individuals to avoid the spread of the infections to the other people
- Maintaining high level of both body and environmental hygiene to reduce chances of bacterial and viral infections at the throat
- Using disposable paper towels and limiting hand to mouth/nose contacts when having throat infections to reduce chances spreading germs
- Report any throat inflammations to physicians for early treatments to avoid complicated conditions of tonsils infections, since extreme conditions would necessitate surgical removal of the tonsils
As it has been revealed, tonsils are very important tissues located at the throat region due to their ability to trap harmful pathogens from entering into the respiratory region. However, accumulated pathogens at the tonsils make them to become inflamed.
It has been revealed that, the major tonsil infections are tonsillitis and Peritonsillar abscess. Tonsillitis is usually cased by both bacterial and viral infections of the tonsils causing them to swell and make it difficult for an individual to swallow. Though tonsillitis and Peritonsillar abscess may be confused, conditions of mouth opening difficulties depict Peritonsillar abscess attack.
The major ways to prevent tonsils infections are vaccinations of various viral and bacterial infections, high level of hygiene, avoidance of direct contact with infected individuals, and visiting physicians at early stages of any tonsils infection to avoid complications.
Burton, Jackson. Transillectomy. London: Routledge Publishers, 2009.
Hareyan, Armen. Understanding Tonsils and Strep. Aug 20, 2007. June 25, 2011. https://www.emaxhealth.com/113/15130.html
Simon, Berger. “Bacterial and Viral Infections of the Upper Respiratory Tract.” In Dale, David. ACP Medicine, 79-91. New York: Professional Publishing, 2006.
Wetmore, Richard. “Tonsils and Adenoids”. Journal of Pediatrics. 23.7, (2007): 321-338.