Most of us think that the tonsils are just ordinary tissues in the body that does not have any use or function. However, the tonsils are actually considered part of the lymphatic system of the body. These are fleshy clusters of tissues that lie in bands on both sides of the back of the throat that goes above and behind the tongue. One of the major functions of the tonsils is to catch incoming germs before it attacks the body and infects the mouth, throat or the sinuses. These tonsils also contain anti-infection cells and/or antibodies that help in hindering the spread of the pathogens all over the body. Unfortunately, the tonsils could also be infected with germs or other organisms like bacteria that can lead to the occurrence of tonsillitis. But what is tonsillitis and what are the symptoms of tonsillitis in children?
What is Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is defined as the inflammation or the swelling of the tonsils caused by a certain pathogen or bacteria. This condition can be experienced by anyone; nevertheless, tonsillitis is said to be common among children. There are actually three types of tonsillitis, namely acute, subacute and the chronic. Acute tonsillitis can either be bacterial or viral in origin. Approximately 75% of acute tonsillitis is caused by these organisms. Subacute tonsillitis, on the other hand is specifically caused by a bacterium called as Acitomyces. This condition last from 3 weeks to as long as 3 months. Last is the chronic tonsillitis, which is almost always caused by bacterial infection and can likewise last for long periods if left untreated.
As we grow older, the tonsils and the adenoids actually shrink in size making them less functional in preventing disease causing germs. This is due to the fact that the tonsils serve as an aid to the immature immune system of children. But as we age, the immune system becomes stronger and more mature wherein the tonsils will begin to shrink, which will eventually lose its function. Nevertheless, removing the tonsils in children still does not cause a huge impact on the body’s defenses. In fact, there are still a lot of tissues in the body that is considered part of the immune system. These tissues are otherwise known as lymphoid tissues, which are also effective in fighting against infection.
The Signs and Symptoms of Tonsillitis
There are actually a lot of known symptoms for tonsillitis. In addition to this, not all of these symptoms can be present in all the cases of this condition. Some people who experience tonsillitis may have varying types of symptoms. Nevertheless, the indicative or the most common sign of tonsillitis is none other than the sore throat. Aside from sore throat, the body can also experience other types of symptoms, which includes fever or high grade body temperature, halithosis or bad breath, swollen lymph nodes, presence of nasal congestion and rhinorrhea or runny nose, redness and swelling of the tonsils, which can be covered with patches of pus, dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, headache, abdominal discomfort or tummy pain and the presence of raw and bleeding patches on the tonsils.
Once sore throat is accompanied by cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose and coughing, then the condition is more likely to be caused by a virus. However, viral infection in the tonsils usually heals on its own within 2 weeks without any treatment. Aside from this, sore throat that is paired with fever more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit may be indicative of a viral infection while sore throat with the swelling of the lymph nodes, the presence of skin rash and flushed face and the absence of any symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection is most likely caused by a bacteria. However, no matter what symptoms are present, it is still important to seek for medical advice in order to treat or provide proper interventions for the matter. It is possible that a simple tonsillitis is already a case of strep throat. Once strep throat is undetected and left untreated, this can complicate to more serious health problems such as rheumatic fever, which can cause permanent damage to the heart. Once this occurs, life can already be difficult to live.
How to Deal with Tonsillitis?
When a child experiences these cruel symptoms of tonsillitis, it is important that proper rest and nourishment is given. Most people suffering from tonsillitis will find it very painful to swallow any food. Because of this, giving liquid or osteorized foods can be very relieving. Some of these foods include milkshakes, smoothies, soups, ice creams and popsicles. However, sweets are discouraged since these can aggravate the inflammation causing more severe side effects.
These are just some of the pertinent information and facts about tonsillitis. It is important that these teachings and learning must be applied in real life situations in order to prevent and/or stop the fast spread of infection such as the tonsillitis. Gaining knowledge about a particular disease is considered to be the best weapon in fighting against health problems.