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Pharyngitis and tonsillitis

Pharyngitis and tonsillitis

Pharyngitis

What is Pharyngitis?

Pharyngitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the mucosa of the pharynx, the membranous mucus channel that connects the oral and nasal cavities with the larynx (the organ appointed to the formation of sounds) and with the oesophagus (the tract of food channel That from the pharynx comes to the mouth of the stomach).

Pharyngitis in most cases is caused by viral  (Rhinovirus, Adenovirus, Herpesvirus) and bacterial (mainly Staphylococci and streptococci) infections. Since it is difficult with the sole objective examination to distinguish whether the infection is of viral or bacterial origin, in order to a correct diagnosis it is necessary to carry out a test.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of pharyngitis is a sore throat: burning, a sense of irritation sometimes associated with a feisty cough or with poor mucous excreted, difficulty in swallowing; the mucosa appears reddened and can present small gray-rose reliefs (In this case we talk about granulosa pharyngitis).

In the acute form it may also be present a febrile state, an enlarged neck gland and sometimes pain in the ear, while in the chronic form (which can follow to the acute one) is usually associated phlegm of the larynx, of retro nasal cavities and/or of the Eustachian tube.

How do you treat pharyngitis?

The treatment of pharyngitis is the elimination of the responsible pathogen. In bacterial pharyngitis the antibiotic therapy is recommended (associated in the case of an anti-inflammatory), in the viral ones are generally used only anti-inflammatories

In cases of recurrent or chronic pharyngitis, it is necessary to keep under control or to eliminate any irritant factors such as smoke, excessive alcohol consumption, too dry or too humid environments, inhalation of irritants.

Can pharyngitis be prevented?

The first thing to do is to follow some elementary hygienic norms: wash your hands frequently (especially children who tend often to carry hands to the mouth), ventilate frequently the premises where there are many people, avoid when possible the contact with people already suffering from pharyngitis or in any case with classical symptomatology from cooling/flu.

It is also recommended the use of food supplements that stimulate our immune defences such as those that contain probiotics, echinacea, zinc, vitamin C.


Tonsillitis

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the tonsils, of those palatines. The tonsils are small formations of lymphatic tissue located at the point of passage between the mouth and pharynx.

The acute form has a frequently viral aetiology that can precede a bacterial infection generally involving the surrounding structures. In this case we talk about pharyngotonsillitis.

Adenovirus and Rhinovirus are the most responsible viruses for acute tonsillitis, cause of inflammation. To the acute symptoms of the first day (fever and sore throat) follow already from the second day the milder ones like colds, dry cough and phlegm. In case the viral agent is the Coxsackievirus, vescicles are formed on the tonsils, which then break down creating small superficial lesions (angina herpetic). Sometimes this infection can also spread to the ear.

Streptococcus pyogenes also known as Sbea or Streptococcus β haemolytic group L is instead the main responsible for bacterial tonsillitis characterized by pus on the tonsils and throat, swelling of the glands under the mandibular and high fever (higher  than 39 °C).

It is therefore necessary to intervene with antibiotics because if not adequately cured we incur in complications also of a certain relevance: otitis, sinusitis, peritonsillar abscesses-with absence of rheumatic pus-disease, inflammation of the kidneys.

What are the symptoms?

The symptomatology manifests with hyperaemia of the mucosa (excess of blood) and increased volume and redness of the tonsils, painful dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), fever, phonation impairment, dry and feisty cough.

How to treat tonsillitis?

The treatment of tonsillitis, as with pharyngitis, consists primarily in the detection and elimination of the responsible pathogen. In case of bacterial tonsillitis the therapy is that antibiotic (associated in the case also to an anti-inflammatory), in the viral ones are generally used only nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (when necessary) and analgesics to relieve pain as, for example, paracetamol.

In some cases, the use of food supplements containing probiotics may also be enough.

In the case of recurrent tonsillitis and that do not respond to the above treatments it may be also necessary an intervention for the removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy).

Can tonsillitis be prevented?

The rules are practically the same applyed for laryngitis , which are some elementary hygienic norms: wash your hands frequently (especially children who tend to carry hands to the mouth often), ventilate frequently the premises where there are present many people, avoid when possible contact with people already suffering from tonsillitis or otherwise with classical symptomatology by cooling/flu.

Also, in this case is recommended the use of food supplements that stimulate our immune defences such as those that contain probiotics, echinacea, zinc, vitamin C.

 

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