Friday, November 7, 2008

Tonsillitis 101

I woke up this morning with the renewed hope to be able to report to work. But when I swallowed, my throat remained sore, my ears in pain, my sinus blocked. It's my first time to experience something this sore sans cough and colds. So I went to my EENT, the same doctor that treated my barotrauma from diving. Although personal check-up doesn't really show my tonsils inflammed, I had a feeling I have tonsillitis.

I didn't even finished opening my mouth then he exclaimed, "it's time to take some (co-amoxiclav) antibiotics, you have tonsillitis!" Aside from antibiotics, he prescribed two types of pain killer, one of which I remember taking during my knee injury and the other which I should take if pain persists. He also mentioned not to gargle with any commercial oral antiseptic and oops I just did three times a day. No wonder it didn't work unlike when I get the usual sore throat. He suggested warm water with salt instead.

It's my first time to get tonsillitis (I think) so I have no idea how this goes but it sounds just like an ordinary infection. Later in the afternoon, it struck me, why did he have to prescribe all those pain killer. So I asked my friend A and she said, yes expect for it to get worse. Uh oh! I was even thinking of not taking any of the pain killer as long as I could resist, with that thought, I have to get them ready.

If you are as ignorant as I am when it comes to Tonsillitis, read on. Tonsillitis doesn't only mean inflammed tonsils. It comes with other symptoms like:

enlarged and tender neck cervical lymph nodes, severe sore throat (which may be experienced as referred pain to the ears), painful/difficult swallowing, headache, fever and chills, body ache and change in voice causing a "hot potato" voice. Tonsillitis is characterized by signs of red, swollen tonsils which may have a purulent exudative coating of white patches (i.e. pus) like these:

Don't fret, these aren't mine. I don't have as much but I had all those symptoms except for headache.

It can be viral or bacterial. Viral will go away on it's own while bacterial needs antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics doesn't necessarily expedites the healing process, it only shortens the time being contagious. Apparently, you are contagious while you still have symptoms. Most people stop being contagious 24 to 48 hours after they start antibiotics. If you don't take antibiotics, you may be contagious for 2 to 3 weeks, even if your symptoms go away. I'm not such a believer of antibiotics but it makes sense this time.

There is no mention as to taking too much sweets causes tonsillitis. Is this a fallacy? I can't blame the three servings of ice cream I had during All Saints Day and the slice of sans rival and chocolate cake I had the next day.

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