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Peritonsillar Abscess

Peritonsillar Abscess

Discuss any sore throat   with fever or other symptoms with your doctor by phone or with an office visit.

If you have a sore throat and trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, difficulty speaking, drooling, or any other signs of potential airway obstruction, you should seek emergency transportation to a hospital's emergency department.

Self-Care at Home

There is no home treatment for peritonsillar abscess. Call your doctor for an immediate appointment to evaluate your symptoms.

  • Arrange follow-up with your doctor or an ear-nose-throat specialist (otolaryngologist).
  • If the abscess starts to return, you may need a different antibiotic or further drainage.
  • If you develop excessive bleeding or have trouble breathing or swallowing, seek medical attention immediately.

There is no reliable method for preventing a peritonsillar abscess other than reducing risks: Do not smoke, maintain good dental hygiene, and promptly treat oral infections.

  • If you develop peritonsillar cellulites, you may possibly prevent a peritonsillar abscess by taking an antibiotic. However, you should be closely monitored for abscess formation and may even be hospitalized.
  • If you are likely to form an abscess (for example, if you have tonsillitis frequently), talk with your doctor about whether you should have your tonsils removed.
  • As with any prescription, you must finish the full course of the antibiotic even if you feel better after a few days.

People with an uncomplicated, well-treated peritonsillar abscess usually recover fully. If you don't have chronic tonsillitis (in which your tonsils regularly become inflamed), the chance of the abscess returning is only 10%, and removing your tonsils is usually not necessary.

Most complications occur in people with diabetes  , in people whose immune systems   are weakened (such as those with AIDS  , transplant recipients on immune-suppressing drugs, or cancer   patients), or in those who fail to recognize the seriousness of the illness and do not seek medical attention.

Major complications

  • Airway blockage
  • Bleeding from erosion of the abscess into a major blood vessel
  • Dehydration from difficulty swallowing
  • Infection in the tissues beneath the breastbone
  • Pneumonia  
  • Meningitis  
  • Sepsis   (bacteria in the bloodstream)
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