Quinsy or Peritonsillar abscess is a rare but very serious complication of tonsillitis. The condition causes pus to collect and build up between the tissues of your throat and the tonsil. Pus accumulates in an infected area when a bacterial infection (tonsillitis) is untreated thereby spreading from the tonsil to the surrounding tissues in the throat. Although quinsy can occur at any age, it is most common in young adults and teenagers but rare in young children and infants. You can get quinsy more than one time in your lifetime. This condition can cause swelling and pain in the throat. In severe cases, it can lead to obstruction of the throat which could lead to difficulties while swallowing, breathing and speaking.
Quinsy is very rare since most people who have tonsillitis seek treatment early enough thus preventing the development of the condition. According to recent medical reports, less than 100 in 100,000 people with tonsil stones and sore throat get quinsy.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of quinsy include:
- Inflammation or swelling in the mouth and throat
- Enlarged and tender lymph glands in your neck
- Painful swallowing
- Difficulty breathing and speaking
- Ear pain on the affected side
- Fever and chills
One of the most effective ways of preventing quinsy is by reducing the risks of getting tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is caused by several bacteria and viruses. As such, the best way to avoid tonsillitis is by maintaining basic hygiene and health standards. You can prevent tonsillitis by;
- Avoiding close contact with people infected with bacterial or viral infections that cause tonsillitis
- Ensuring that you wash your hands properly and regularly with water and soap, especially when around infected people
- Washing and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are contaminated
- Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Quitting smoking
- Avoid using utensils and glasses with infected people
Treatment of Quinsy
Patients suffering from quinsy should seek treatment from a medical facility. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may be treated using one of the following treatment methods;
The doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition. The antibiotics can be administered intravenously (through a vein) at first before switching to capsules or tablets once your condition improves. Also, your doctor can prescribe painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to relieve pain. In some cases, you may need to use corticosteroid medication to ease swelling in your throat.
- Surgical Procedures
Most patients with quinsy may need to undergo surgery to remove the pus in the tonsils and tissues around the infected area. The pus in the abscess is drained through;
Needle aspiration-In this procedure, a doctor uses a long and fine needle to remove pus from the infected area
Incision and Drainage- This procedure entails making a small incision or cut on the affected area and then using a needle to drain the pus
Tonsillectomy- Although rare, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to remove the tonsils.
When undergoing an incision and drainage procedure or needle aspiration procedure, the doctor will administer a local anesthesia to numb the infected area or a sedative to enable you to relax. However, some incision and drainage procedures may be performed under general anesthesia, just like a tonsillectomy. A general anesthesia puts you to sleep as the procedure is being carried out.
Although quinsy is a rare condition, it is important that you prevent it by reducing the risks of getting tonsillitis. This is possible by maintaining basic hygiene and health standards. If you develop tonsillitis, you should seek treatment immediately to avoid getting quinsy which could lead to complications that may require surgical procedures to treat.