After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.
My Sister’s Peritonsillar Abscess Experience
My sister is in the hospital with a peritonsillar abscess on her right tonsil. As an RN I had never heard of this condition. She was treated, kept overnight and sent home, but the next morning she was in intense pain. At 4:30 AM her husband took her back to the emergency room, where they treated her with morphine for the pain and admitted her again.
She recently had bronchitis and her doctor had her take a five day course of 40 mg of prednisone. I don’t know if that is what left her vulnerable for the abscess or not, but she never had a peritonsillar abscess until now.
Facts About Peritonsillar Abscess
A peritonsillar abscess (also known as quinsy) is typically a complication of having acute tonsillitis. It is a pus filled pocket that forms near the tonsils. Infectious mononucleosis can also result in this abscess. Smoking and chronic periodontal disease can also be a cause, but this is not the case for my sister.
Often it is caused by the same bacteria that causes strep throat. It only occurs in 1 in every 10,000 people, but it is the most common infection in the throat, neck or lungs.
It usually occurs in older children, adolescents and young adults, which is not the case with my sister.
My sister had severe pain and her voice was hoarse.
The symptoms can include:
- Severe pain
- Swollen tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swelling of your face and neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bad breath
- Muffled voice or hoarseness
It can be serious if the abscess grows so large that it blocks your throat. Untreated may allow this infection to reach your lungs or mouth.
Peritonsillar Abscess - Identification and Treatment
Antibiotics will be prescribed intravenously or in pill form if you are not hospitalized. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics are penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporin or clindamycin.
The physician may drain the peritonsillar abscess using needle aspiration and drainage. They have to make an incision to release the fluid inside the abscess. Fortunately, my sister’s abscess is small, so they don’t think that will be necessary.
If you have repeated episodes of this abscess the doctor will recommend having your tonsils surgically removed (tonsillectomy).
Patients are treated as outpatients unless there is severe swelling blocking the airway or other complications.
My sister’s voice was admitted primarily due to her intense pain, and her lower voice with difficulty swallowing indicated at least a partial blockage or her throat. Mild fever was also present.
Peritonsillar Abscess Emergency and Needle Aspiration
If you have a painful sore throat, fever and chills see your physician promptly as you don’t want the symptoms to get worse. If the abscess ruptures infection can spread in many areas of the body.
Like all diseases, do not smoke, eat healthy and exercise. My sister was discharged late yesterday afternoon.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Pamela Oglesby