Tonsillopharyngitis is infection of the throat and/or tonsils. This condition typically affects children than adults. The tonsils include a tissue that is a component of the immune system. The tonsils and neighboring throat tissue become diseased by organisms that enter the throat and nose. Individuals who had their tonsils removed are still at risk for developing throat infections.
Possible causes of tonsillopharyngitis
Tonsillopharyngitis is typically triggered by a virus. In most instances, it is one of the viruses responsible for causing the common cold such as adenovirus, rhinovirus, influenza virus or respiratory syncytial virus.
In some cases, the condition can be caused by a bacterial infection. Group A streptococcus is the most common bacterial cause and typically occurs among children between age 5-15. Strep throat is uncommon among children below age 3 and among older adults.
What are the indications?
An individual with tonsillopharyngitis experiences intense pain while swallowing and speaking. The pain is oftentimes felt in the ears. Some individuals have headache, fever and stomach upset. The tonsils appear reddened and swollen along with white patches. As for the lymph nodes in the neck, they become tender and swollen.
Among those who suffer from frequent tonsil infections, the normal small-sized pits in the tonsils become filled with white, hardened secretions that are similar to tiny stones in appearance. These stones can trap the odor-causing bacteria, thus resulting to bad breath that can put an individual at risk for ensuing episodes of tonsillitis.
Individuals with the cold virus infection often end up with runny, congested nose and coughing. Those who have mononucleosis often feel extremely tired and have several swollen lymph nodes and the increasing tonsillar swelling might start to block air while the individual breathes, thus resulting to noisy breathing.
How is it diagnosed
The doctor will diagnose tonsillopharyngitis by checking the throat. Nevertheless, since viral and bacterial infections often cause the same appearance in the throat, it is hard to determine if the cause is bacterial or viral by simply looking at the throat. As for those who have cough and runny nose, they are likely to have a viral infection.
Since it is vital to identify strep throat, the doctor might take a swab on the throat and perform tests to identify the streptococcus bacteria.
Oral analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen can be given to reduce the pain.
Warm salt water can be gargled but it has not been proven to help. Some doctors might even recommend a single dose of corticosteroid that can shorten the duration of the symptoms. It can also help lessen the blockage of the airway due to mononucleosis.
Individuals who have strep infection are given an antibiotic usually amoxicillin or penicillin. Those who are highly sensitive or allergic to penicillin might be given clindamycin.