Written by Lisa Allen, MD
The tonsils are a pair of glands situated on either side of the insides of the throat. The function that they perform haven’t been established and people who have the tonsils removed face no difficulty in that the glands are not missed in any manner. But that does not mean that the swollen tonsil on one side should be completely ignored. It could in a number of instances be a portender of more serious and deeper maladies
It is believed that the pair of tonsils do help out with fighting infections that could make its way into the body through the mouth. The lymph nodes that are situated in the pair of tonsils do play an important and indispensable part in keeping the bucolic cavity free of infections.
What Are The Primary Causes Of Swollen Tonsils On One Side?
It is rare that the tonsils are infected just on a single side. The more common occurrence is for the pair of them to be swollen and when it does so the usual remedy is to have them removed. The approach to a situation when either of them alone is swollen is different from the situation when the pair of them is infected and swollen.
Tonsillitis: This is a situation when the pair of the tonsils are infected or when just a single one of them is swollen. It is prevalent in both adults as well as children but is more predominant in young children. Tonsillitis can be due to a bacterial infection or a viral infection.
If it is a bacterium that has caused the inflammation of the tonsils it is important that contact with others is restricted till the infection is contained. There are a whole lot of bacteria that are known to bring about the condition and the more commonly found culprit is links to the streptococcus bacteria.
The condition is infectious up to three weeks after contacting the condition and care must be exercised in keeping the infected person isolated from others.
Strep throat: This is a condition that is found in children under the ages of ten. The prime culprit here is bacteria that are broader in action than the streptococcus bacteria. The need for complete isolation of the infected person needs to be emphasized. It is possible to transmit the condition through sneeze and cough.
Peritonsillar Abscess:This is caused by infection that occurs between the tonsils and the throat. It is a very rare incident but is a more serious condition than what the usual inflammation of the tonsils would entail.
Due to the nature of the infection, an abscess is formed between the throat walls and the tonsil which is usually manifested by a single tonsil getting inflamed and sore. This causes a reddening of the tonsil area and immediate attention is required to contain the serious fall out of the condition.
The Tell Tale Signs That Point To An Inflamed Tonsils
The usual and common signs that a person’s tonsil is inflamed are the reddening of the area local to the very back of the throat. More often than not the person is drawn to the existence of a condition when a sensation is had while swallowing food or drinking fluids.
A quick inspection of the inner throat area is sufficient to display an inflamed tonsil and more so a single side inflammation of the tonsils. There could be a number of supportive signs like head ache, bad breath, loss of appetite, weak voice, etc.
But the clinching evidence of an inflamed tonsil is the reddening of the back of the throat and a pain while swallowing food. The others are supportive signs that can at times point to the exact nature of the bacteria in action.
Ways To Handle A Swollen Tonsil
The first line of defense against a swollen tonsil is to have a mouth gargle. At times a physician might recommend medicated gargles that could bring immediate and quick relief to a condition. This is usually the practice if the severity of swelling is so bad as to prevent normal food and water intake.
The second step is to put the patient on a course of anti-biotic to help achieve complete healing. The type of anti-biotic used does vary with the type of bacterial infection and in a number of instances when there is no clear cut identification of the bacterial stream it is common to use a more broad function medicine.
In case it is seen that the infection is by a virus, the common treatment is to allow the body to build a resistance to the particular virus. The extraneous symptoms like the fever, chills, cough, etc are handled symptomatically to help the person through the three days that most people need to help build a resistance.
It must be emphasized that the infected person must be isolated from others even for minor bacterial infections and more so if the infection has been identified as due to a virus. If the first step of a hot water gargle does not produce any result it is best advised to pay a visit to a doctor quickly.
How Can The Condition Be Prevented From Occurring?
It would be ideal for people that have a single tonsil infection to be completely isolated from others. The very virulent nature of the infection would mean that the infection can spread fast among target population like the young children and toddlers.
Even though people usually associate inflamed tonsils with s sore throat, it can in association with other conditions pose highly debilitating conditions. This is to be prevented at all costs and a precautionary move is always needed.
It is always wise that a simple sore throat is not just wished away but is referred to a doctor who can say what the condition is due to. There have been a number of instances when a condition has been aggravated due to lack of attention and has in the case of an inflamed tonsil needed the removal of the glands.