As mentioned above, young age is a risk factor. Kids aged five to 15 years old are likely to have tonsillitis caused by bacteria, while viral causes would affect younger children. However, it’s very rare that kids younger than two years old get tonsillitis.
Frequent exposure to germs is also a risk factor especially because the viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis are contagious. This is another reason why age is a risk factor. School-age children are more exposed to their peers and the outside world in general. And this gives plenty of opportunities for them to come in contact with viruses or bacteria.
How to Prevent Tonsillitis
To prevent tonsillitis, good hygiene is needed. Teaching kids to wash their hands properly and regularly, avoiding sharing food utensils, and keeping them home when they are sick help to prevent tonsillitis.
Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or into your elbow followed by thorough handwashing also go a long way in preventing tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis treatment plans vary depending on how the diagnosis goes. During the diagnosis, there will be a physical exam and tests. These include a throat swab and, on rare occasions, a complete blood count (CBC).
In the physical exam, the doctor will observe the throat using a lighted instrument. The doctor may also observe the ears and nose since these are possible sites of infection as well. After this, doctors may check for a rash associated with strep throat called scarlatina. Checking for swollen lymph nodes and spleen enlargement is also done since these could be indicative of an infection.
A throat swab is performed and sent to the laboratory to check for the presence of Streptococcus using a culture test. If deemed necessary, a CBC is conducted to have a better understanding of how the body is coping with a possible infection.
In severe cases or cases wherein someone has recurring tonsillitis of more than four to five episodes a year or unresponsiveness to antibiotic treatment, surgery might be an option. Tonsillectomy can address complications that come with recurring tonsillitis like difficulty breathing or swallowing, abscess, and even obstructive sleep apnea.
Tonsillitis Treatment at Home
At home, tonsillitis treatment focuses on soothing the throat. This means drinking enough water, getting enough rest, and making sure the air is humidified enough. Comforting food, drinks, and snacks like warm liquids, cold desserts, and lozenges also help. A saltwater gargle can also help to soothe sore throats. Avoiding possible irritants and using over the counter medicine to treat the fever and pain would also be helpful as long as it’s cleared by your doctor.
If a sore throat is the cause of the bacterial infection, your doctor will recommend a course of antibiotics to be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. It’s important to finish the full course regardless of at what point the symptoms have stopped manifesting.
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