Signs You May Have Tonsillitis

If you’ve got a sore throat and a bit of a fever, they may be signs that a cold is coming on. However, add in neck stiffness, swollen and tender lymph nodes, or headaches, and it’s possible that your tonsils may be infected.

Tonsillitis is a localized infection that’s also usually the result of a virus, though fairly often bacteria are involved. Identifying tonsillitis — and its underlying cause — is important for proper treatment.

The ear, nose, and throat experts at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates can help to determine the identity and nature of your throat issue, as well as to provide the appropriate care for fast treatment of your tonsillitis.

The location of the tonsils

Since tonsillitis occurs most often in children, it’s good for parents to know where the tonsils are, since there are often visible signs of infection. There’s one tonsil on each side of the throat, both left and right of the uvula, the flesh that dangles down in the middle of the throat. 

Healthy tonsils are pink, the same color as the rest of the flesh in the throat area.

Common symptoms of tonsillitis

Usually, a sore throat and some difficulty swallowing may be the first signs of infected tonsils. These symptoms may be accompanied by a fever, and your speech can be affected, sounding muffled or scratchy. Headaches and a stiff neck could also be part of the effects of tonsillitis.

The lymph nodes most commonly affected by tonsillitis start just below your ear and follow the front of the main muscle in your neck, ending at the collarbone. Swelling at the sides of the neck may be visible, and swollen nodes are usually tender to the touch. Check your lymph nodes by working in a downward pattern, one side at a time.

Additional symptoms in children

Tonsillitis can occur before your child is able to fully explain what they feel. They may seem overly fussy as with any illness, and with tonsillitis they’ll probably refuse to eat, since swallowing hurts. This may also cause them to drool, since saliva can build up in their mouth without regular swallowing. 

Younger children are also more likely to complain that their tummies hurt during a tonsillitis infection.

Visual signs of tonsillitis

Though the tonsils may be difficult to recognize when healthy, they become swollen and red when infected, standing out from the surrounding tissue. The tonsils may also display a white or yellow coating, spots or discharge.

Treatment for tonsillitis depends on the cause of the infection. As with the common cold, virally infected tonsils can only be home treated, and your child will be better in about a week. Bacterial infections can lead to serious complications, so antibiotics are often prescribed.

Contact Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates at the most convenient office as soon as you suspect tonsillitis, whether it’s you or your child, even if you suspect a viral infection. Prompt treatment helps minimize the effects of a bacterial infection when caught early. 

Call today, or send the team a message here on the website to arrange an appointment.

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