When is a sore throat something worse?

When is a sore throat something worse?  A peritonsillar abscess is a deep infection of the head and neck.  THIS is the something worse I am talking about.  The diagnosis is made by clinical presentation and examination by your physician.

  • What are the symptoms?
    • fever,
    • drooling,
    • one-sided ear pain,
    • sore throat,
    • difficulty swallowing,
    • foul-smelling breather if
    • difficulty opening your mouth and
    • a muffled/”hot potato” voice.
  • What is the treatment?  Drainage.  Yes, this means that a needle or a scalpel will be used to open the abscess (pus pocket). And, antibiotics will be given.  You may need intravenous fluids if you have been so uncomfortable that you have not been able to drink.  You may also need pain medicine.
  • Why did you get this?  It is thought that peritonsilar abscesses begin as exudative tonsillitis (a sore throat with pus) and then progressed to a superficial skin infection of the throat (“cellulitis”), and then the infection of the cellulitis grows and forms a pus pocket.  I like to say that the bacteria came together and “had a party.”  Our job as the doctor is to break up that party and help you to heal.
  • Do you need to spend the night in the hospital?  Probably not.  If your doctor is concerned about airway compromise, extension of the infection into deep neck tissues, or if after abscess drainage you feel worse… then you may spend the night in the hospital.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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