At the back of our throat, there are located two tissues which are over-shaped and are similar to pads. These pads are known as tonsils one on each side of the throat. The purpose of these tissues is to work as the first line of defence for the immune system of the body, against the invasion of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that enter the body through mouth. This they do by producing certain types of white-blood cells. So what may happen, in some cases, these disease-fighting systems get exposed to infection and inflammation, while they are battling out the invaders. This very inflammation of tonsils is what is known as tonsillitis, and when it keeps recurring, it earns the name 'chronic tonsillitis'. As the condition is chronic, the symptoms seem to be persistent and long-lasting.
Symptoms of chronic tonsillitis
Chronic tonsillitis is typical of children and adolescents under the age of 15. This is because, as person reaches adulthood, his tonsils cease to work for the immune system any more. And so if the tonsils do not have to deal with pathogens, then they remain less vulnerable of suffering from any kind of infection and inflammation. However, chronic tonsillitis in adults do occur, but in rare cases. The symptoms are as follows:
- Tonsils that become red, hot and swollen
- Sore throat
- Formation of a coating like surface on the tonsils. This could be white or yellow.
- Difficulty in swallowing food, even water or saliva
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
- Hoarseness in the voice, which may be something like scratchy or muffled for some people
- Bad breath
- Abdominal pain, especially in smaller kids
- Feeling of stiffness while moving the neck
- Headache that may be recurring and persistent
These symptoms may bother small children, but they may not be able to put them in words. So, parents must watch out for signs such as poor feeding, crying while opening their mouth for eating or swallowing, increased irritability, or expressing that their neck is paining.
Causes of chronic tonsillitis
A common cause of chronic tonsillitis is the same virus that causes the common cold. However, it can be caused by other kinds of pathogens as well. If we talk about bacteria, then Streptococcus pyogenes happens to the common offender. The same agent causes sore throat. This condition, whether a viral or a bacterial one, can be easily transmitted from the ailing person to a healthy one. Chronic cryptic tonsillitis is a type of this condition that is caused when food particles or bacteria accumulate forming debris in the folds of the tonsils.
Treatment of chronic tonsillitis
Most cases of tonsillitis do not require the aid of medical intervention. A few self-care measures at home help in reducing the symptoms and speeding up the recovery.
- A warm saltwater gargle has been an age-old treatment method to manage acute as well as chronic tonsillitis. Encourage kids to gargle the water and spit it out. Doing this several times a day provides significant relief in the throat pain when swallowing.
- Getting plenty of sleep and rest gives the body enough time to fight the infection.
- Kids must be given plenty of fluids throughout the day. This would help to keep their throat moist and prevent dehydration. Warm soups, caffeine-free drinks, ice pops, etc., are good for this purpose.
- Dry air may aggravate the symptoms, so it is better to use a cool-air humidifier in the room. Alternatively, leave a kettle of water boiling in the room. The steam will help in keeping the air moist.
- Lozenges also provide a good deal of relief from sore throat.
- Avoid getting exposed to cigarette smoke, paints and the like. These substances irritate the throat and may worsen the condition.
- Doctors may be consulted for medications to treat fever and pain that arise from chronic tonsillitis. These may help during bed time, which otherwise may be difficult because of the symptoms.
As mentioned, if the causal factor is bacteria, then antibiotics would be recommended to be used. Although the above measures are good enough to treat chronic tonsillitis, if they don't work, then an ENT doctor
may suggest for a surgery to remove the tonsils