Purulent sore throats or bacterial infections of the throat are often caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus type A. This bacterium, called Strep for short, can make the throat (pharynx) and tonsils inflamed and purulent.
Do you think it is possible for a person whose tonsils have been surgically removed (undergone tonsillectomy) to develop a strep infection even though they do not have tonsils?
Yes, you may not have tonsils and you may have a strep throat infection.
Infection and inflammation of the throat (pharynx) are called pharyngitis by doctors. If the cause is strep pharyngitis, it is called streptococcal pharyngitis.
Infection and inflammation of the tonsils are called tonsillitis by doctors and if strep is the cause of tonsillitis, it will be referred to as streptococcal tonsillitis.
The most common age group for purulent tonsillitis or purulent pharyngitis with Streptococcus type A are children and adolescents.
It is interesting to know that if you have had your tonsils removed during surgery, you may experience strep throat again in your lifetime, but there will be no more tonsillitis, and both the severity of the symptoms and the length of time it takes for the infection to heal will be much less than when streptococcal tonsillitis was present.
Strep throat is highly contagious and the infectious bacterial agent can be easily transmitted to healthy people through the saliva of an infected person.
The cough and sneeze of a person with a strep throat infection are very contagious.
It is said that not having tonsils does not mean that you will never have strep throat again.
If you do not have tonsils and you are exposed to a person with pharyngitis or streptococcal tonsillitis, or you are exposed to his/her cough and sneeze or you eat from a plate and food soaked in his/her saliva, you will also get strep throat.
So, what is the difference between you and the people who have tonsils?
The presence of tonsils makes children more susceptible to streptococcal infections and more severe symptoms.
When children undergo tonsil removal surgery, or so-called by doctors, tonsillectomy, the risk and probability of developing streptococcus in your throat decreases but does not reach zero.
That is, they can get strep throat, but with much longer intervals, much less often, and the severity of the disease is very mild, meaning the symptoms will never be severe.
Clinical signs and manifestations
What are the symptoms of strep throat in people with tonsillitis:
- Painful and difficult swallowing
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and their sensitivity to touch
- Discomfort and stomach pain
- Severe swelling of the tonsils
- Redness of the tonsils
- Existence of white and red spots around the throat on examination of the pharynx
- Occasionally there are skin rashes
If you or your child has had a tonsillectomy and do not have tonsils, you can still have these symptoms in strep throat, except that:
There is no more swelling and redness of the tonsils.
The severity of the symptoms is milder.
The above symptoms usually occur in streptococcal sore throats within the first three days.
Mild symptoms of viral sore throats
Viral sore throats have milder symptoms as follows:
- Milder fever
- Painful swallowing
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck
In what cases should we see a doctor?
- Sore throat that has lasted more than two or three days.
- Sore throat with white spots on the back of the throat or red spots on the roof of the mouth.
- Difficulty breathing with sore throat
- Sore throats with red rashes and pimples on the surface of the skin.
- Difficulty swallowing with sore throat
In addition to an accurate history and assessment of temperature and vital signs, examination of the throat, palate, tongue, mouth, and skin surface, and… Sometimes the doctor removes the discharge from your throat with a sterile swab and sends it to a lab for culture.
Until the culture results are ready, you will be treated with appropriate antibiotics such as penicillin and … if you suspect strep throat.
The duration of antibiotic treatment for oral antibiotics should be complete.
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen will also be prescribed.
During this time:
- Take a break.
- Drink warm liquids.
- Use cool-mist humidifier.
- Use saline for sore throat.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water or normal saline solution.
If the throat infection does not improve after two days, be sure to tell your doctor, to reconsider his/her treatment.
What are the possible complications if strep pharyngitis is not treated?
- Ear infections
- Rheumatic fever and heart disease
- Kidney involvement of PSGN
- Scarlet fever
- Mastoid bone infections of the skull called mastoiditis.