There are many reasons you could be dealing with a sore throat, and an infection of the tonsils could be one of them. This infection is better known as tonsillitis, and it happens to everyone from children to adults. Of course, we know that being able to tell respiratory infections apart can be rather challenging and sometimes impossible. This is when turning to an ENT doctor is key to determining whether or not you are dealing with tonsillitis and how to treat it.
What are tonsils?
Your body has built-in defenses that help protect you against infections and harmful bacteria and germs, and your tonsils are your body’s first defense against infection. These two lymph nodes are found on the back of the throat. Unfortunately, even tonsils can fall prey to infection. When this happens, this is known as tonsillitis.
You may be surprised to find out that tonsillitis is contagious, so if a member of your family has this infection it can be spread easily through contact, so it’s important to practice good hygiene and to keep your distance.
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of tonsillitis:
- A severe sore throat
- Red, inflamed tonsils
- Yellow or white spots on the tonsils
- Painful swallowing
- Bad breath
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
Acute tonsillitis will often go away on its own without treatment in about 7-10 days; however, if symptoms get worse or don’t go away then it’s time to turn to your ENT doctor. Sometimes, tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, in which case your doctor will need to prescribe a round of antibiotics to properly treat the infection. This is one reason it’s always a good idea to visit a doctor if you are dealing with symptoms that you’re not sure about.
You should also turn to an ENT doctor if you or your child is dealing with chronic or recurring bouts of tonsillitis. In some cases, the tonsils may need to be removed if they are causing severe and persistent infections.
If you are dealing with symptoms of tonsillitis, it’s a good idea to turn to an otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on and to find out whether you may require medication. An ENT doctor is going to be the best specialist to turn to when dealing with conditions that impact your ear, nose, and throat.