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Everything you need to know about tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is a condition in which your tonsils get infected. Common symptoms include a sore throat, fever, swollen tonsils, and swollen lymph nodes. The treatment for tonsillitis is based on the cause of the infection. However, it can affect people of all ages. Tonsillitis is very common – especially among children, and most people have tonsillitis at least once in their lifetime.

This Pacific Prime Singapore article will take a closer look at tonsillitis, its symptoms, and its adverse effects.

What is tonsillitis?

The scientific name for tonsillitis is tonsillopharyngitis, but it’s commonly known as a sore throat. Before we understand what tonsillitis is, we need to learn what tonsils are. Tonsils are the two small lumps of soft tissue at the back of your throat. And when the tonsils get infected, they get swollen and lead to tonsillitis. Tonsils are a part of your immune system. They trap germs that could make you sick.

What does tonsillitis feel like?

Tonsillitis could make you feel tired and weak like you have a severe cold. However, the most common symptom of the disease is a sore throat – tonsilitis usually comes on suddenly and some of the symptoms may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Scratchy throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing food or water
  • Swollen tonsils and throat
  • Spots on tonsils
  • High fever
  • Swollen lymph noses
  • Stomach ache

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Tonsillitis is a contagious disease. It is passed along by:

  • Kissing someone that has tonsillitis
  • Sharing utensils, food, or drink with someone that is sick
  • Coming in close contact with someone suffering from tonsilitis
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your nose or mouth

What are the complications associated with tonsillitis?

Most tonsillitis complications are usually associated with strep throat and streptococcal bacteria. Here is a list of some of the possible complications:

  • Chronic tonsillitis – A condition in which people get tonsillitis more than seven times a year.
  • Tonsil stones – Prolonged tonsil infection may lead to tonsil stones. Tonsil stones are hard, calcified bacteria and debris that hide in your tonsils’ crannies and nooks.
  • Scarlet fever – Prolonged strep throat infection can lead to scarlet fever. Scarlet fever occurs more often in children than adults, though it’s not common.
  • Peritonsillar abscess – In extreme cases of tonsillitis, an abscess can form around the tonsil. The condition is more common in adults and adolescents than in children.
  • Spread of infection – Tonsillitis, when left untreated, can spread from your throat to your middle ear, sinuses, or other parts of the body.

How can you prevent yourself or your child from getting tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis cannot be prevented, there are things you could do to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Wash your hands frequently and especially before you touch your nose and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing objects with someone who is sick.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly.

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