Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils, and the most common symptoms of this condition are a sore throat, high temperature, cough, headache, painful swallowing, an overall feeling of tiredness, and swollen neck glands. Furthermore, if you have tonsillitis your tonsils can become red and swollen, and you can get white pus on them.
There are several ways of treating tonsillitis, both medical and at home. There are several causes of tonsillitis such as Streptococcus bacteria, adenoviruses, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, enteroviruses, herpes simplex virus, or Epstein-Barr virus. Depending on the cause you will receive proper treatment for your tonsillitis. To determine the cause, your doctor will most likely do a throat swab and test in in a lab to find if your bacterial infection is mild or severe.
Medical Treatments for Tonsillitis
Antibiotics. If the underlying cause of your tonsillitis is a bacterial infection, your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics to you. The most common antibiotic used is penicillin which you will probably take for 10 days orally, however, if you are allergic to it you will receive an alternative antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, or ampicillin. You should be aware that antibiotics come with a set of side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, or rash, and you should take a probiotic while taking antibiotics to keep your gut flora healthy and calm.
Surgery. If you suffer from tonsillitis a lot, or if you have chronic tonsillitis or bacterial tonsillitis that does not seem to respond to antibiotics, your doctor could propose a surgical removal of your tonsils, also known as tonsillectomy. Generally speaking, frequent tonsillitis is defined as tonsillitis that occurs more than seven times in one year, more than four episodes in one year in the past two years, or more than three episodes per year in the last three years.
Also, tonsillectomy is advised for people with breathing difficulties, obstructive sleep apnea, an abscess that does not go away even after antibiotic treatment, or people who have trouble swallowing, especially when it comes to chunky food.
Tonsillectomy is a fairly common procedure, and there are several ways of performing it. The most common method is so-called “cold steel”. This is a traditional method and involved the removal of the tonsils with a scalpel. Another one is called diathermy, which uses radiofrequency energy which is applied directly to the tonsillar tissue, which dissects the tonsils. The third method is called coblation which uses a radiofrequency bipolar electric current which passes through the saline and dissects the tissue.
When it comes to recovery, some patients can experience pain in the recovery period. Some may also report a sore throat and pain in the jaw, neck, or ears. To alleviate the pain, you should take a few days to rest a lot, sip water, and eat popsicles to keep the hydration levels normal without hurting your throat too much. You should eat warm, clear soup and applesauce, as they are easy to swallow and will not irritate the throat. Also, after the first couple of days, you can add oatmeal, ice cream, pudding, or other soft foods in your diet. Do not eat chunky, spicy, or hard food for a few days after the surgery.
You can also take pain medication which will alleviate the pain. Make sure to consult with your doctor before you take any medication, and make sure to let him know if you experience a high fever or bleeding. Generally speaking, it takes about two weeks to recover from a tonsillectomy, and most of the patients have fewer throat infections in the future.
Home Remedies for Tonsillitis
Rest. If you have tonsillitis, the best thing you can do for yourself is getting lots of rest. If you can, take a few days off work or school to mend your throat. Speak softly, or avoid speaking altogether to avoid irritating your throat even further.
Drink a lot of liquid. Proper hydration is very important, so drinking lots of liquid will definitely help you feel better. Drink plenty of hot teas, eat warm soups, ice pops, and ice creams to soothe the discomfort. You can also make a soothing mixture out of one teaspoon of lemon juice, one teaspoon of cinnamon, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of honey, and hot water and drink as needed.
Salt water. One of the best and most common remedies is gargling with warm salt water. The warmth will soothe your throat, and salt will kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation, giving you relief from the discomfort. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, mix well, and gargle. Do not swallow this, and repeat as often as necessary.
Lemon. Lemon is famous for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is high in vitamin C as well. To treat tonsillitis with it, add the juice from one lemon to a glass of lukewarm water, and add a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of salt. Drink this twice a day for several days for best results.
Basil. Not only is it a great spice, it is very helpful when it comes to tonsillitis treatment. Basil will soothe your throat and reduce swelling while speeding up the healing process. Boil about 12 leaves of basil in one and a half cups of water for 10 minutes, strain it and add the juice of one lemon, and some honey to sweeten this tea. You can drink it three times a day, or more if necessary.
Cinnamon. Cinnamon is famous for its antimicrobial properties as it inhibits the growth of bacteria and reduces the inflammation, pain, and swelling. Add one teaspoon of cinnamon to a glass of hot water, and mix in two tablespoons of honey. Stir well and drink this slowly, twice a day for about one week.
Turmeric. Turmeric is famous for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities, and it is also a very good spice you can use in your daily cooking activities. Simply mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of hot water and gargle several times a day.
Lozenges. Lozenges can be found in drugstores and supermarkets and they work wonders for a sore throat. Many of them contain a topical anesthetic, which will help alleviate the pain in your throat and tonsils.
Ginger. You can make ginger tea to soothe your throat and fight bacterial infections. To do this, slice a thumb-sized piece of ginger and boil it in two cups of water for about 20 minutes. Add some honey to your tea and sip it while it’s hot. You can also add a pinch of cinnamon for even better taste and fantastic results.
Garlic. You can make a garlic paste for your tonsils by crushing a few cloves and warming them slightly in the microwave. Make a paste out of the garlic cloves and add some honey to it. Apply the mixture to your tonsils with a cotton swab to help soothe the inflammation.
Sage. One of the best teas you can drink for tonsillitis is sage tea. Sage has natural astringent and analgesic properties and it is great for soothing the irritation and getting rid of bacteria. You can drink it normally as you would any tea, or you can make an irrigation solution with it. Boil 200 ml of water and pour it over two teaspoons of dried sage. Let it steep for 10 minutes and let it cool down a bit, before gargling it. You can do this several times a day, and you will be amazed at the results. Just make sure you do not swallow this, as it is too strong for internal use.
Do not smoke. If you are a smoker, definitely do not light up a cigarette as it can irritate your throat and make matters even worse. You should also be wary of dry air and fumes from cleaning products. You can try to use an air humidifier which will add moisture to the room and make it easier for you and your throat.