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Tonsillitis Treatments and Drugs

February 26, 2014

You may not need to worry whether or not your tonsillitis stems from a bacterial or viral infection since your body’s immune system will resolve this infection in a matter of days. You can assist your body by doing some helpful things in the meantime.

You need to feed your child with lots of food and drink if he has tonsillitis even if he finds it hard to swallow.  A dehydrated and hungry child can lead to unnecessary symptoms like tiredness and headaches. Surgery may be needed if your child constantly suffers from tonsillitis.

Self-help

Analgesics bought over-the-counter (OTC) like ibuprofen and paracetamol can help assuage symptoms such as sore throat. Younger children need small dosages so seek advice from your pharmacist on what dosage is right for your child. If your child is below 16 years, never give him aspirin.

Oral sprays and lozenges bought OTC can also relieve sore throat.

You can also gargle with a light antiseptic solution or even with just warm salty water for sore throat relief. A liter of water can be added with about half a teaspoonful of salt. For younger children the salt solution should not be tried since they may tend to swallow the solution.

Antibiotics

If tests reveal that you suffer from bacterial tonsillitis, that doesn’t automatically mean you will be prescribed antibiotics. Why? There are two reasons for this:

Most tonsillitis cases have shown that antibiotics do not really work or speed up the healing process. Moreover, they have negative side effects like feeling sick and abdominal pain.
Frequent use of an antibiotic will lead to antibiotic resistance making it useless when a serious infection occurs.

Antibiotics may be given if:

Your child’s immune system is weak
His symptoms do not get better
He shows severe symptoms

Doctors usually recommend a 10-day penicillin course for the aforementioned circumstances.  If you or your child has penicillin allergy, other antibiotics like erythromycin may be given. Side effects caused by penicillin include:

Rash
Diarrhea
Upset stomach

Surgery

This procedure is now only performed if your child suffers from repeated bouts of tonsillitis or if his tonsillitis is especially disabling and severe that it causes work or school absences. A tonsillectomy is done to remove the tonsils.

This surgical procedure often entails the use of a general anesthetic and this implies that you will be sleeping the whole duration of the surgery. No skin incision is required and your mouth will be open during the surgery to enable surgeon to see and remove your tonsils.

The surgeon can opt for different surgical techniques to remove your tonsils:

Cold steel surgery – This technique uses a surgical knife to sever the tonsils out. Bleeding is regulated by using pressure or sometimes by searing shut the blood vessels through a process called diathermy.
Diathermy – The surgeon uses a diathermy probe in order to obliterate the surrounding tissue and eventually to excise the tonsils. The heat from the diathermy simultaneously shuts the blood vessels to prevent any bleeding.
Cold ablation or coblation – This is a similar technique as diathermy but instead of using heat the surgeon applies a 60 degree centigrade temperature to remove the tonsils. Coblation inflicts less pain to the patient compared to diathermy.
Lasers – Laser beams of the high energy sort are used as knives to slice out the tonsils and with the laser heat shut the underlying blood vessels.
Ultrasound – The surgeon uses high energy ultrasound waves instead of lasers to excise the tonsils.

Tonsillectomy is a minor procedure with the patient all ready to go home within the day of or the day after the surgery.

Post surgery

There will be some pain felt on the surgery site for up to a week after the operation. To address the pain, analgesics can be prescribed by the surgeon.

If a child has had a tonsillectomy he should not go to school for a couple of weeks. This precaution is important to prevent him from being infected by another child that can cause him discomfort and pain.

After surgery, the child will experience swallowing difficulties. However, it is essential that you make your child eat solid foods to make the healing process quicker.  Your child may need to drink copious amounts of liquids although acidic juices such as orange juice should not be given as it can sting your child’s throat.

Make sure your child’s teeth are kept clean to prevent any pathogen from infecting his mouth.

After the first week of the operation the pain gradually dissipates. There may be earaches felt from time to time which is a common occurrence with tonsillectomies and is something not to worry about.

Post surgical bleeding

Post surgical bleeding usually occurs on the surgical site. This usually happens during the first day post surgery or up to ten days post surgery. Statistics reveal that about one child in 100 as well as one adult out of 30 adults will develop post surgical bleeding. After-surgery bleeding should not be a concern since the bleeding resolves by itself. To limit the bleeding, you can gargle using cold water since cold water can constrict the blood vessels and limit the bleeding. There are a few cases where bleeding can be a lot resulting in the patient coughing up or vomiting out blood. When this happens, see your doctor immediately.

When a patient suffers from extensive bleeding, he may be required to undergo another surgery or given blood transfusion.

Acupuncture

For people who want a more natural approach to tonsillitis treatment, acupuncture can be a good, safe and natural procedure to relieve sore throat pain. Acupuncture can likewise help the body overcome whatever infection is causing the tonsillitis. If you have a chronic case of tonsillitis, acupuncture can help enhance the immune function of your body and stop recurrence. In addition, Chinese herbal medicine possesses a lot of antibiotic properties to stem the irritation and inflammation; you need a qualified acupuncturist that is well experienced in treating your particular symptoms.