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How to sleep with swollen tonsils to reduce it?

Swollen or enlarged tonsils are known as tonsillitis. Tonsillitis has infectious and non-infectious causes. Swollen tonsils can cause difficulty in breathing, pain, and many other clinical features that may affect your sleep or even cause difficulty to fall asleep. Treating the underlying cause will reduce the symptoms and help you go to sleep. A tonsil is a special form of lymphoid tissue that is responsible for protecting our body from infections or any foreign body invasions. Tonsils still swollen after antibiotics regimen may suggest that the tonsillitis is not caused by infections. Further medical evaluation is needed in exploring the exact cause and to start the right treatment plan.

Sore throat is one of the symptoms of tonsillitis. Other structures that may be affected if you are having a sore throat are pharynx, larynx, and epiglottis. They are prone to infections and injuries. Morning sore throat is usually caused by infection of the tonsil or also known as tonsillitis. This is more common among people who did not maintain good oral hygiene. You must brush your teeth and gargle with an oral antiseptic solution before bed. If not, contaminated food particles or food particles that later become a habitat for opportunistic organisms will cause you to suffer a sore throat.

 The example of viruses that may cause tonsillitis are:

  • Adenovirus
  • Rhinovirus
  • Coronavirus

  The bacteria causes are:

  • Streptococcus
  • Group C and G streptococcus
  • Arcanobacterium haemolyticum
  • Fusobacterium necrophorum

  The example of non-infectious causes are:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to dry air
  • Trauma
  • Vocal strain

Before a treatment can be started, history taking, physical examination, and investigations are needed to formulate a diagnosis. History taking and physical examination are important for symptom analysis and signs identification. The clinical features of tonsillitis are:

  • Fever
  • Pus from tonsils
  • Neck lymph node swelling
  • Skin rash
  • Sore throat
  • Malaise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Changes in voice or hoarseness of voice
  • Watery nose
  • Weight loss

Streptococcus infection of the tonsils and pharynx is very common in any age group despite their gender. Severe tonsillitis may result in upper airway obstruction. The features of upper airway obstruction are:

  • ‘Hot potato’ voice
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Drooling of saliva
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Noisy breathing

Upper airway obstruction which is caused by severe tonsillitis requires urgent management and intervention. Investigations are not needed if clinically, the doctor is very sure that your condition is due to viral infection. However, if you are suspected to have a bacterial infection, investigations are needed. The investigations are:

  • Sensitive rapid antigen test (RADT)
  • Throat swab for culture
  • Blood test

After a diagnosis of tonsillitis is confirmed treatment will be given. Antibiotics are always given for this condition. The treatment of choice for tonsillitis following a streptococcus infection is the use of penicillin. Penicillin is a very good antibiotic in treating this condition. However, if the patient is allergic to penicillin or penicillin is not available, other antibiotics can be used. The antibiotics are:

  • Cephalosporins
  • Clindamycin
  • Macrolides

  Supportive treatment is also important to achieve a cure. The supportive treatments are:

  • Rest
  • Drink a lot of plain and clean water
  • Consume soft food
  • Avoid respiratory irritants
  • Anti-fever medication and painkillers
  • Avoid oily food

 Tonsils still swollen after antibiotics regimen may suggest that the tonsillitis is not caused by infections. Other appropriate medical interventions are necessary in such cases. Well-treated tonsillitis will ensure you better sleep at night.