Peritonsillar Abscess Is a Severe Affliction. Dangerous?
Peritonsillar abscess is a relatively common infection associated with the tonsils and it presents itself as pus beside the tonsils. This affliction is usually common to adults that are over 20 years old. There are fewer cases encountered in people over 40 years old and even less in children. This sickness affects both males and females equally.
Is peritonsillar abscess contagious? The answer is yes, but only mildly because the infection can spread to others only through saliva or nasal secretions.
This means that, as long as you do not make contact with these body fluids, you have nothing to worry about.
How does peritonsillar abscess manifests
The circumscribed abscess symptoms usually manifest themselves from two to eight days before the sore is visible. This is a long and painful process and you should go to the doctor as soon as you have one of the symptoms. In most cases, the symptoms of a peritonsillitis can be mistaken to the ones of tonsillitis, since these two afflictions have common causes.
Some of the symptoms for this sickness include severe pain in the throat, fever (higher than 39o Celsius), tenderness in the throat, difficulty in swallowing food and saliva, earache in the ear closest to the place where the abscess will form and difficulty in opening your mouth due to the inflammation of the peritonsillar area.
If you do not have the time to go to the doctor’s or you want to be sure that you have this affliction before the medical consult, you can always check out peritonsillar abscess emedicine. This is an online way of putting a diagnostic using only the symptoms you have. It is quite accurate and extremely easy to use.
This way, you will at least have an idea about what you are confronting with.
Some of the circumscribed abscess causes are types of bacteria, like streptococci and staphylococci, other aerobic or anaerobic bacteria, untreated or partially treated infections of the tonsils, chronic tonsillitis and the excessive use of oral antibiotics that weaken the throat.
How to treat peritonsillar abscess
First of all, if you detect the symptoms in an early stage, you can easily avoid the unpleasant treatment that peritonsillar abscess usually requires.
If the doctor establishes that you will develop a pus, he or she can prescribe you some antibiotics that can counteract this sickness. In most case, though, doctors tend to wait and see how things develop instead or prescribing preventive antibiotics because, although these pills help, they can also decrease your immune system.
If you do not catch these symptoms in time, you might wake up one morning and already have an abscess that will require special medical care. Peritonsillitis treatment includes needle aspiration of the fluid, a surgical procedure to remove the sore and antibiotics.
Since in most case this disease is caused by bacteria, it is necessary to examine the fluid in order to determine which type of bacteria is responsible for this.
Each bacteria responds different to antibiotics and in the case of streptococci, penicillin does not work. This is why the most common antibiotic given for this affliction is clindamycin.
- The surgical procedure consists in taking out the tonsils. This procedure is also known as tonsillectomy and it is usually a quick surgery. Usually, this is done after the abscess fluid is drained and it is not a must in treating this affliction.
Circumscribed abscess drainage is done using a special needle and it only takes a few seconds. The only bad part about this is that this procedure is a bit painful, but since you already feel an annoying pain due to the abscess, it might not feel that bad.
After the fluid is drained, it can be taken to the laboratory in order to study the bacteria that caused the abscess. This is extremely useful since the chance of getting another case of peritonsillitis is higher in patients that have had this sickness before.
Peritonsillar abscess recovery time is usually around a week, but the symptoms and the abscess itself will disappear after a day or two, if give the proper treatment.
Special peritonsillar abscess cases
A lot of people exhibit peritonsillitis after tonsillectomy. This has nothing to do with the surgical procedure, but more with the fact that a most people do not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against infections.
After a tonsils surgery, the tissue around the area where your tonsils where situated is damaged which makes it extremely susceptible to infection. This means that eating an unwashed fruit or something that came in contact with the ground can lead to infections and thus abscesses.
As with most infections, the most serious complication for this disease comes from poor treatment. If the patient does not do a complete antibiotics treatment and takes the pills whenever he fills like it, the bacteria living in the abscess can become resistant to that particular antibiotic. And an antibiotic resistant infection can be fatal.
Another peritonsillar abscess complication is the spreading of the infection to the lungs. This means that a simple tonsillitis, if left untreated, can turn into a peritonsillitis, and if that is left untreated it can lead to a serious pneumonia that in most cases becomes fatal.
Septicemia is another serious complication. It is common to all infections and appears when the infections spreads to an important artery and contaminates the blood stream. Septic infection is a very dangerous complication because if it is not treated in a short period of time, it becomes untreatable and leads to certain death.
Can you get peritonsillitis without tonsils? The answer is yes. But most studies show that there are a lot less cases of this sickness in patients that do not have tonsils then in patients that still have them.
But this does not make a tonsillectomy a good prevention method to these abscesses because another set of studies show that people without tonsils are more likely to get pneumonia then people with tonsils. This thing happens because the bacteria responsible for pneumonia can remain in the tonsils and it is incapable of reaching the lungs.