Tonsillitis and Adenoid Infection
Infected adenoids cause swelling and enlargement that can make it hard to breathe through your nose. You may mouth breathe instead and snore at night. The airway blockage caused by enlarged adenoids can contribute to sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing momentarily during sleep. Additionally, infected adenoids are associated with recurrent ear infections.
Infections that are caused by bacteria are treated with prescription antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections. Plenty of rest, drinking warm liquids, throat lozenges, and gargling with salt water may help. Over-the-counter pain medication may help ease symptoms, but aspirin should NOT be taken by children with viral infections.
People with recurrent infections or severe symptoms may need to have their tonsils and/or adenoids surgically removed. A tonsillectomy and an adenoidectomy can be performed at the same time. The procedures are usually performed as outpatient surgeries. In some cases, an overnight hospital stay may be necessary.
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy use general anesthesia, meaning that you will not be awake for the procedure. The tonsils and adenoids are accessed through the mouth. They are either surgically removed or destroyed with heat (cauterization). Bleeding is controlled with cautery and packing. No stitches are necessary.
Recovery from the surgery takes about a week. You should eat soft foods, and cool drinks may help make your throat feel better. You may have some nasal drainage or a stuffy nose while you heal. Most people can breathe more easily through their nose and experience a decrease in throat and ear infections following surgery.
Am I at Risk
You may be at risk for tonsillitis and adenoid infections if you are in environments with groups of people, such as daycare centers, schools, places of employment, sporting events, or concerts.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.