Pathophysiology | Signs and Symptoms Tonsilitis

• Tonsillitis is an infection or inflammation of the palatine tonsils.
• Tonsils filter and protect the respiratory tract from invasion by pathogens.
• Infections can be acute, recurrent, or chronic.

Etiology: Bacteria (often group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus) or virus spread by droplet nuclei.

Precipitating/risk factors:
Often occurs with pharyngitis; strep infections develop often in cold locations in-between the fall and spring; viral tonsillitis can affect those living in crowded conditions and lead to an epidemic; more common in children and young adults.

Signs and Symptoms:
• Tonsils are red and enlarged
• White exudates may be observed on tonsils
• Child has difficulty swallowing and breathing
• Mouth breathing
• Sore throat
• Enlarged, tender cervical lymph nodes
• Malaise

• Inquire about previous tonsil infections
• Provide comfort
• Administer antibiotics and analgesics as ordered, acetaminophen relieves fever and throat pain
• Check with parents if any herbal medications were given and report to the physician
• Prepare parents and child for surgery if required and provide perioperative care

Client teaching for self-care
• Instruct to take antibiotic for 10 days
• Stress need for adequate rest

• Use warm salt water gargle to provide comfort
• Offer a diet with nonirritating cool fluids, soft, bland foods and ice chips to prevent dehydration


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