Your tonsils are your body’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses that enter your body through your mouth. As a result, they’re vulnerable to infection and swelling. At Park Avenue ENT, with locations in Brooklyn and on the Upper East Side of New York City, Jacqueline Jones, MD, provides expert diagnosis and treatment for tonsillitis. If you or your child have swollen red tonsils and a painful throat, call the practice or schedule an appointment online today.
Your tonsils sit on either side of your uvula — the structure that hangs down in the back of your throat — and act as a sort of defense system for your body. They’re made from lymph tissue, which your body uses to fight infections. Lymph tissue also lines your mouth, nose, throat, and neck.
Tonsils that are small are hard to see, which is the case in babies and most adults. Having large tonsils is usually not a concern, as long as they appear normal and aren’t causing any further issues.
Your adenoids are very similar to your tonsils, except they’re located in the back of your nose and cannot be seen without instruments or an X-ray. Adenoids also act as a filter in your body, but if they’re too large, they can block airflow through your nose.
Babies have small adenoids, and adenoids peak in size between the ages of one and five and typically shrink before adolescence.
Your tonsils are an essential part of your immune system, catching bacteria and viruses that try to enter your body through your mouth. As a result, they’re prone to infection and inflammation, which is referred to as tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is more common in children than in adults, but you can develop the illness at any age. Tonsillitis causes symptoms including:
If you or your child develop any of these symptoms, make an appointment to meet with Dr. Jones for diagnosis and expert treatment to relieve your symptoms and help your body recover from illness.
Tonsillitis is usually a viral infection, although it’s possible for bacteria — like the streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat — to infect your tonsils, too.
Dr. Jones diagnoses tonsillitis and identifies its cause by examining the back of the throat as well as your ears and nose for signs of infection. She looks for inflammation and feels the sides of your neck and under your chin to check for swollen lymph nodes. She listens to your lungs to see if your breathing is impaired. Dr. Jones may also feel your spleen — a swollen spleen is a sign of mononucleosis.
Dr. Jones may perform a throat culture or a strep test to check for a bacterial infection. She may also order blood work for a complete blood count if necessary to gather more information to identify the kind of virus or bacteria causing your illness.
Treatment for tonsillitis depends on the kind of infection causing your symptoms. If you have a viral infection, Dr. Jones recommends using over-the-counter medications to soothe your sore and painful throat while you stay at home to rest and drink plenty of clear fluids. She only prescribes antibiotics when your symptoms are due to a bacterial infection.
If you or your child have chronic tonsillitis, she provides advice on avoiding exposure to the germs that cause the illness. In severe cases, she discusses a tonsillectomy as a treatment option.
Call Park Avenue ENT or schedule an appointment online for expert diagnosis and treatment for tonsillitis.