Tonsillitis is another name for a tonsil infection. Tonsils are the fleshy, glandular areas on either side of the throat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tonsillitis causes swelling and pain in the back of the throat, and may result from infection with a virus or bacteria. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include fever, chills, headache, difficulty swallowing, white patches on the tonsils, enlarged lymph nodes in the jaw or neck, and loss of voice. Young children may also experience abdominal pain.
Things You'll Need
- Over-the-counter pain reliever
- Over-the-counter throat spray
How to Get Rid of Tonsillitis
Visit your doctor for a rapid strep test. Symptoms of strep throat may mimic the symptoms of tonsillitis, but strep throat requires treatment with antibiotics. Children with strep throat should be kept at home until at least 24 hours after beginning antibiotic treatment.
Use over-the-counter medications to reduce fever, inflammation and pain caused by viral tonsillitis. Ibuprofen is typically most effective, but acetaminophen will also reduce discomfort. Aspirin should never be given to children with tonsillitis due to the risk of Reye's syndrome, a potentially fatal complication associated with aspirin use during viral infections.
Take antibiotics to get rid of bacterial tonsillitis. Penicillin is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for throat infections, but erythromycin is effective for those with allergies to penicillin. According to the Mayo Clinic, oral antibiotics generally must be taken for 10 or more days.
Use topical anesthetics for temporary relief of throat pain. Lidocaine throat sprays are available by prescription, but there are numerous over-the-counter sprays that can numb the throat and enable easier swallowing.
Gargle with warm salt water every hour until your tonsillitis clears up. You can make salt water at home by mixing one-half teaspoon salt in eight ounces of warm water.
Increase your intake of warm liquids to prevent dehydration, speed healing and reduce throat discomfort. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends soup broth for its nutritional value.
Mix honey and lemon in a glass of hot water. Lemon reduces mucus production, and honey coats the throat to make swallowing easier. Avoid giving honey to infants under the age of 1 year.
Avoid irritants, such as smoke and hard, crunchy and spicy foods, according to the Nemours Foundation. Irritating your throat may increase pain and swelling and delay healing.
Undergo a tonsillectomy to remove your tonsils. Surgery may be recommended when seven or more throat infections occur in a one-year period, or when five or more serious infections occur in less than two years, according to the Mayo Clinic.