Tonsillitis is a common infection of children and young adults. Significant throat pain in conjunction with yellow spots on the tonsils usually indicates a diagnosis of tonsillitis. Treatment is in the form pain relief, with antibiotics in more severe cases. Tonsillectomy is indicated if the patient suffers from 7 attacks in a single year, 5 or more attacks in 2 or more consecutive years, or 3 or more attacks in 3 or more consecutive years. Tonsillectomy in an adult is a sore operation, though, once the patient has ‘had enough’ and understands what is involved with tonsillectomy, the satisfaction rate is high after undergoing surgery.
Chronic throat pain in an adult lasting longer than 3 weeks requires examination with a camera to out rule a more serious cause of throat pain. Additional ‘red flag’ symptoms in the throat are; a non-healing ulcer (3 or more weeks), difficulty swallowing, coughing up blood and hoarsness (longer than 3 weeks). These require urgent ENT attention, particularly if the patient is a smoker.