The Prevalence of Acute Tonsillitis by Age
Acute tonsillitis, characterized by inflamed palatine tonsils, commonly occurs in school-aged children ranging from 5 to 15 years old. This condition can be caused by various factors. Let's explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments associated with tonsillitis.
1. Causes and Contributing Factors of Acute Tonsillitis
The causes of tonsillitis include:
- Bacteria: Group A beta-hemolytic streptococci, Haemophilus influenzae, streptococci, spirochetes, etc.
- Viruses: Influenza, measles, whooping cough, etc.
- Sudden changes in weather conditions.
- Exposure to a polluted environment, excessive dust, poor living conditions, and lack of hygiene.
- Reduced immune resistance due to allergies or other underlying conditions.
- Unresolved infections in the throat and oral cavity, such as tooth decay, gingivitis, or rhinosinusitis.
- Tonsils' anatomical structure, with numerous crevices and cavities that harbor and promote bacterial growth.
While tonsillitis can affect individuals of all ages, acute tonsillitis is more prevalent among children and adolescents, particularly those aged 5 to 15.
2. Symptoms of Acute Tonsillitis
- Sudden onset with chills followed by a fever ranging from 38 to 39 degrees Celsius.
- Fatigue, headaches, and poor appetite.
- Reduced urine output and dark-colored urine, along with occasional constipation.
- Dryness, burning, or heat sensation in the throat, especially in the lateral wall of the pharynx where the palatine tonsils are located.
- Sore throat, potentially accompanied by sharp ear pain that intensifies while swallowing or coughing.
- Children may experience accompanying rhinitis, with a runny nose, wheezing, snoring, and a nasal-sounding voice.
- If the inflammation extends to the larynx and trachea, it can cause a productive cough, chest pain, and hoarseness
3. Treatment of Acute Tonsillitis
3.1. General Treatment Principles
Symptomatic treatment forms the primary approach for acute tonsillitis, aiming to alleviate symptoms. Antibiotics are only prescribed if there is a suspected infection or potential complications.
3.2. Specific Treatment Measures
- Rest and consume easily digestible liquids while ensuring adequate hydration.
- Manage pain and reduce fever if it exceeds 38.5 degrees Celsius using medications like paracetamol. Maintain a minimum 4-6 hours interval between doses.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is a bacterial infection. β-lactam antibiotics are commonly used, while macrolides are an alternative for those allergic to β-lactams.
- Use mild antiseptic nasal drops.
- Gargle with warm alkaline solutions like sodium bicarbonate or sodium borate mixed in a glass of warm water.
- Enhance physical condition with trace elements, vitamins, and calcium supplementation.
4. Potential Complications of Tonsillitis
If left untreated or managed inadequately, tonsillitis can lead to severe complications, including:
- Local complications: Tonsil ulcers, tonsil stones, peritonsillar inflammation, pharyngitis, and chronic pharyngitis.
- Chronic cervical lymphadenitis, rhinosinusitis, otitis media, and croup.
- Systemic complications: Arthritis, nephritis, endocarditis, sepsis, etc.
5. Preventive Measures
- Maintain a clean living environment, particularly for individuals with reduced immunity or allergies. Take precautions during respiratory-related outbreaks or weather changes.
- Treat other nasopharyngeal conditions such as adenoid hypertrophy, rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, and stomatitis.
- Engage in regular exercise, sports activities, and consider immune-boosting tonics.
- Ensure complete vaccination according to recommended schedules.
- Acute tonsillitis can have significant implications for a patient's health and quality of life. Therefore, if a child exhibits signs of illness, it is advisable to seek medical attention and receive appropriate treatment.