How long does it take to recover from tonsillitis?

Tonsillopharyngitis is a health issue where both pharynx and tonsils are inflamed. Tonsillitis can occur alone or with pharyngitis. Streptococcus infection of the tonsils is very common in any age group. Both adults and children commonly suffer from this condition despite their gender and race. A tonsil is a special form of lymphoid tissue that is responsible for protecting the human body from any infections. A tonsil is usually inflamed as a result of infections. This happens as the internal cellular reactions will take place to prevent the infections from spreading or affecting other structures. Tonsillitis symptoms in adults can be cured within three days following treatment if it is due to streptococcus infection. Other causes will have different duration of recovery.

Tonsillitis can also be caused by other bacteria, viruses, and non-infectious causes. The example of viruses are:

  • Adenovirus
  • Rhinovirus
  • Coronavirus

Other bacteria are:

  • Group C and G streptococcus
  • Arcanobacterium haemolyticum
  • Fusobacterium necrophorum

The example of non-infectious causes are:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to dry air
  • Trauma
  • Vocal strain

Before a treatment can be started, history taking, physical examination, and investigations are needed to formulate a diagnosis. Physical examination, investigations, and history taking are important for symptom analysis and signs identification. The clinical features of tonsillitis are:

  • Fever
  • Pus from tonsils
  • Neck lymph node swelling
  • Skin rash
  • Sore throat
  • Malaise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Changes in voice or hoarseness of voice
  • Watery nose
  • Weight loss

Severe tonsillitis may result in upper airway obstruction. The features of upper airway obstruction are:

  • ‘Hot potato’ voice
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Drooling of saliva
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Noisy breathing

Upper airway obstruction due to tonsillitis (streptococcus infection) requires urgent management and intervention. If clinically, the doctor is very sure that your condition is due to viral infection, investigations are not needed. Investigations are needed if you are suspected to have a bacterial infection. The investigations are:

  • Sensitive rapid antigen test (RADT)
  • Throat swab for culture
  • Blood test

A treatment plan can be started after a diagnosis of tonsillitis (streptococcus infection) is confirmed. Antibiotics are always given for this condition. The treatment goals with the use of antibiotics are:

  • Symptoms severity and duration reduction
  • Prevention of acute complications
  • Prevention of delayed complications
  • Prevention of spread to other individuals

The treatment of choice for tonsillitis (streptococcus infection) is penicillin. Penicillin is a very good antibiotic in treating this condition. However, if the patient is allergic to penicillin or penicillin is not available, other antibiotics can be used. The antibiotics are:

  • Cephalosporins
  • Clindamycin
  • Macrolides

Supportive treatment is also important to achieve a cure. The supportive treatments are:

  • Rest
  • Drink a lot of plain and clean water
  • Consume soft food
  • Avoid respiratory irritants
  • Anti-fever medication and painkillers
  • Avoid oily food

Oily and fatty foods are to be avoided. Both are difficult for your body to digest. As a result, your immune system will be suppressed by your body. Immune system suppression will put you at risk to develop tonsillitis (streptococcus infection) or worsen your condition if you are suffering one.

The complications of tonsillitis (streptococcus infection) are:

  • Middle ear infection
  • Pus formation
  • Other opportunistic infections
  • Acute rheumatic fever

Tonsillitis symptoms in adults can be cured following effective treatment and appropriate medical intervention. Please come and visit a registered doctor.

News Reporter

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