Doctor's Notes on Peritonsillar Abscess (Throat Abscess)
A peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is a collection of pus that forms in the tissues of the throat next to one of the tonsils. When the tonsils become infected (tonsillitis) and the infections spreads to the soft tissues, a peritonsillar abscess may result.
The first symptom of a peritonsillar abscess is typically a sore throat that is isolated on one side. Once the sore throat starts, it can take 2-5 days for the abscess to form. Swelling of the mouth and throat (typically on one side) may occur, the uvula may be pushed away from the swollen side, and the lymph glands in the neck may be enlarged and tender. Other signs and symptoms of a peritonsillar abscess include
- painful swallowing,
- fever and chills,
- muscle spasm in the muscles of the jaw (trismus) and neck (torticollis),
- ear pain on the same side as the abscess,
- a muffled voice, and
- difficulty swallowing saliva.
What Is the Treatment for Peritonsillar Abscess?
Patients with a peritonsillar abscess should seek medical care. In severe cases, the abscess may cause problems with the airway which can affect the ability to breathe. This requires prompt surgery to drain the abscess and stabilize the airway.
In adults and children who have a PTA without airway complications, antibiotics and corticosteroids without surgical drainage had similar treatment success compared with medical therapy plus surgical drainage. Consultation with an otolaryngologist (ENT) can may be necessary to help determine appropriate management for the individual patient.
Peritonsillar abscess is often caused by bacteria. Antibiotics commonly used to treat a peritonsillar abscess include:
Must Read Articles:
AntibioticsAntibiotics are prescribed to individuals to cure disease by killing bacteria. There are over 100 antibiotics. The main classes of antibiotics include penicillins, cephalosporins, macrolides, flouroquinolones, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and aminoglycosides. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem due to the overprescription of antibiotics to individuals. Allergic reactions to antibiotics commonly have the following symptoms shortness of breath, rash, hives, itching, swelling of the lips, face, or tongue, and fainting.
EpiglottitisEpiglottitis a medical emergency and death may result if not treated promptly. Causes of epiglottitis include infectious, traumatic, and chemical agents. Symptoms of epiglottitis include: trouble breathing, drooling, taking rapid forward breaths, leaning forward to breathe, trouble speaking, and a high pitched whistling sound when taking a breath. If a person has epiglottits he or she should seek medical care emergently.
How Do You Get Tonsillitis?Tonsillitis itself is not contagious, but the viral and bacterial causes of tonsillitis are contagious. Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils. The tonsils are masses of lymph tissue located in the back of the throat. They are part of the body’s immune system that helps the body fight off infection.
Is Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) Contagious?Sore throat caused by a viral or bacterial infection is contagious. Other cases of sore throat caused by smoking, allergies or environmental irritants are not contagious.
Is Sore Throat A Symptom Of COVID-19?COVID-19, a coronavirus disease not previously identified in humans, is responsible for an outbreak of respiratory illness that has become a global pandemic. Sore throat is one of a number of possible symptoms of the disease, but it isn't as common as fever, cough and shortness of breath -- the three most prevalent COVID-19 symptoms.
Sore ThroatSore throats are generally named for the anatomical site affected, such as: the pharynx, tonsils, adenoids, larynx, and epiglottis. Sore throat treatment depends on the cause, infection, viral, or fungal.
TonsillitisTonsillitis is an inflammation of the glands of the throat, which results in a sore throat. Tonsillitis is either viral or bacterial. Tonsillitis is contagious. Symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, fever, pain when swallowing, headache, nausea, vomiting, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, ear pain, and redness of the eyes. Tonsillitis can be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes it is necessary to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy).
What Causes White Spots in Your Throat?Strep throat, a bacterial infection, is a common cause of white spots in the throat. Other infections can also cause these spots, however, so diagnosis relies on the whole list of symptoms in addition to the spots.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.