Tonsillitis: Treatments & Home Remedies

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One of the most common oral infections, tonsillitis, can be easily treated. But it can be painful and is contagious too, so understanding the symptoms, causes, and potential treatments is very important.

Treatments for Tonsillitis

There are a limited number of treatments available for tonsillitis, but they include antibiotics, pain relievers and surgery.

Antibiotics

The most common treatment for bacterial infections that cause strep throat and tonsillitis is antibiotics. Penicillin is the easiest and most readily available antibiotic and can be used for at least a week to quickly clear up the infection. However, repeated use of antibiotics for the treatment of this infection will lower their efficacy and may make you more vulnerable to future infections.

Pain Relievers

Since tonsillitis can cause severe swelling and pain in the throat while swallowing or eating, pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are commonly recommended, particularly if the infection is mild or localized. Taking these medications is relatively harmless, provided you don’t have bleeding disorders (in the case of aspirin).

Surgery

What most people think of when they hear the word tonsillitis is a tonsillectomy, which is the complete removal of the tonsils. A tonsillectomy is only required in cases of chronic tonsillitis (more than 6 times in a single year), when bacterial tonsillitis doesn’t respond to medication, or when severe tonsillitis impairs the ability to breathe or swallow food. The surgery is typically outpatient and is completely healed with 1 week.

Home Remedies for Tonsillitis

Given that tonsillitis is highly responsive to different lifestyle changes and natural solutions, many people avoid formal treatment and choose home remedies instead, such as resting, increasing fluid intake, humidifying the air, treating the symptoms, using lozenges, salt water gargles and simplifying the diet, along with the use of cinnamon, turmeric, fenugreek, mint, slippery elm and figs.

Rest

The most basic remedy for tonsillitis is rest, meaning that you should speak as little as possible and avoid foods that may further irritate or inflame your tonsils. Physical rest will also reduce exertion in that part of the body, even through heavy breathing and movement of the neck; this will give your body the chance to heal itself, typically within 1-2 weeks.

Fluid Intake

Flushing out the underlying infection that is causing the tonsillitis infection is one result of increasing your water intake, but fluids will also help to keep the tonsils lubricated, which can reduce inflammation and make it easier for healing to occur.

Humidifier

Adding a humidifier to your bedroom will help to keep your tonsils and throat from drying out overnight, which can extend the length of the infection and promote more inflammation in the tonsils.

Figs

The high mucilage content in figs make them an ideal soothing food to eat while dealing with the pain and inflammation of tonsillitis. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, they are easy to swallow and digest, without irritating your tonsils.

Mint

The natural cooling and soothing properties of mint will help to reduce the inflammation in the tonsils and throat, helping to speed the process of recovery. Mint leaves can simply be chewed to release their powerful compounds, or you can brew mint tea 1-2 times per day for quick results.

Saltwater Gargles

This may be the most trusted and reliable remedy for tonsillitis, as the water can help to rapidly kill the bacteria or virus that is causing the inflammation. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt into a glass of warm water, stir thoroughly and then gargle for 30-45 seconds for rapid relief.

Lozenges

There are many different types of lozenges that can be sucked on to increase lubrication in the throat and provide numbing or analgesic effects to the tonsils, helping to normalize your day and cut down on pain while your body fights the infection.

Turmeric

 Known as one of the most powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant spices, turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, is able to address the infection causing tonsillitis, while also stimulating the healing process for any damaged tissues and soothing the pain of your sore throat.

Slippery Elm

This herb is rich in mucilage, which can coat the throat and tonsils, helping to defend against inflammation and soothing pain, while also improving the immune system’s ability to seek out and neutralize the underlying infection.

Symptom Treatment

In addition to treating the underlying infection, it can be helpful to treat the symptoms, such as a sore throat, headache, stiff joints and dry mouth. By eliminating these aggravating factors, you can help to speed the healing process and allow your immune system to focus on the bacterial or viral pathogens.

Dietary

You should choose your foods carefully when you have tonsillitis, focusing on warm brothsice cream, juice, tea, and honey, all of which can either numb or reduce inflammation on the tonsils.

Fenugreek

The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds present in fenugreek make it an ideal remedy for tonsillitis, helping to soothe the symptoms and address the underlying infections. Fenugreek can be eaten in a variety of foods, or it can be brewed into a relaxing tea that will reduce swelling in the tonsils.

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