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Tonsillitis, what is it? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils, in the throat, caused by a bacterium or a virus. This disease particularly affects children and adolescents.

Definition of tonsillitis

Many causes cause sore throats. But in rare cases, they can be caused by an infection, it is the development of tonsillitis. This infection is often bacterial, but can also be viral in some cases. However, the identification of the causative organism of the disease is often difficult to highlight.

Tonsillitis is not a contagious disease but the underlying infection can be. In this sense, it is recommended that patients with tonsillitis remain at home during the development of symptoms and until their recovery, or wash their hands regularly to prevent the transmission of infection by manu- portage.

Different types of tonsillitis are to be differentiated

Acute tonsillitis

It starts suddenly and usually lasts for two weeks.

Chronic tonsillitis

It extends over the longer term, up to several years. Patients with chronic tonsillitis may present symptoms of the disease in their acute form, but more severely. The chronic form can be very problematic and can lead to more or less serious complications depending on the case.

Causes of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is the consequence of a bacterial or viral infection. This infection is usually transmitted through exposure to the expulsion of contaminated droplets (sneezing, transmission by hand, etc.). The transmission of the infection is therefore relatively easy for a person contaminated with a healthy individual.

Tonsillitis of bacterial origin is mainly caused by a specific type of bacteria: streptococcus. Nevertheless, the presence of this bacterium in the body is not necessarily at the origin of the disease.

In some (minority) cases, tonsillitis may also be caused by a viral infection, such as mononucleosis.

Who is affected by tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a throat infection that can affect anyone, regardless of gender and age.

In addition, children and adolescents are at a higher risk of developing such a disease.

Evolution and possible complications of tonsillitis

The evolutions and possible complications following tonsillitis are rare. Exceptional cases of tonsillitis may develop abscesses between the tonsils and the back of the throat.

Symptoms of tonsillitis

General symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • hoarseness or loss of voice
  • a feverish state
  • cough
  • headaches
  • ear pain
  • chronic fatigue.

The severity of these symptoms may vary from one patient to another, and from one form to another.

Other clinical signs may also develop in the context of tonsillitis:

  • swelling in the lymph nodes of the throat
  • the appearance of purulent pimples in the throat
  • breathing difficulties.

Risk factors for tonsillitis

The risk factors for tonsillitis are any risk of bacterial or viral infection. The influenza virus is a serious risk factor.

How to prevent tonsillitis?

To avoid any risk of transmission of the infection (either the bacterium or the virus in question), the eviction of contact with the infected person is recommended.

How to treat tonsillitis?

Treatment of the disease involves:

    • from complete rest until symptoms disappear
    • the consumption of hot drinks to relieve sore throat
    • prescribing paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce the signs associated with the disease
  • a gargle of the throat with salt water (to be avoided in children).

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