One of the first systems your body has for capturing germs as they enter your body through the nose and mouth are the tonsils: two oval, fleshy pads at the back of your throat.
Since tonsils encounter infecting agents like viruses and bacteria, it’s not surprising that they can become infected, a condition called tonsillitis. While these infections pass in many cases, sometimes they can persist or recur often.
As tonsillitis specialists, the team at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates can help you when chronic tonsillitis sets in. Upon confirming a diagnosis, we recommend the best course of action for your condition.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about tonsillitis and when it’s time to be concerned.
About your tonsils and tonsillitis
Tonsillitis rarely develops once you enter adulthood because the immune system function of tonsils declines through puberty. For that reason, tonsillitis is often thought of as a childhood disease.
Typically, tonsillitis creates symptoms that last between a few days and two weeks, about the same length of time as you might experience a cold. During that time, you might have a sore throat and your tonsils might be visibly swollen.
The infection itself could contribute to swollen and tender lymph nodes. Sometimes, bad breath accompanies these other symptoms.
When should you be worried about tonsillitis?
If your child has tonsillitis, there’s potentially more room for complications. Children under the age of 2 aren’t usually affected by tonsillitis, which most commonly occurs between the ages of 5 and 15.
Tonsillitis symptoms at an early age are a reason to visit Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates to investigate the illness.
Sore throat symptoms from tonsillitis usually last just a few days, so book an appointment if a child’s sore throat persists longer than two days, or when the sore throat is accompanied by fever. Call us, too, if sore throat pain prevents your child from swallowing normally.
It’s time to seek immediate medical attention when your child shows any tonsillitis symptoms combined with:
- Extreme trouble swallowing
- Extensive drooling
- Breathing difficulties
Seek urgent or emergency care under these circumstances.
In adults, bacterial infections causing chronic tonsillitis may be cause for concern when your symptoms persist, cause extreme discomfort or pain, or when they recur frequently.
Left untreated, bacterial infections can spread through the body. We frequently use antibiotics to clear bacteria-based infections. Viral tonsillitis usually needs to run its natural course.
When tonsillitis persists despite treatment, we may recommend surgery to remove your tonsils. Since the immune system functions of tonsils aren’t active in adulthood, you don’t face an increased risk of infection after surgery.
We can help you or your child get past the pain and inconvenience of tonsillitis. Call or click to book a tonsillitis consultation with the head and neck specialists at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates in Lawrence or Ottawa today.