Pus in the throat and on the tonsils – what does it mean and how to treat?

Pus in the throat and on the tonsils most often appears due to a bacterial or fungal infection. This is accompanied not only by a sore throat, but also by systemic symptoms: fatigue, fever, muscle pain. It is worth remembering that pus-like content in the throat can also appear for other reasons.

The presence of pus in the throat is most often the result of an infection in the head or neck. Often the cause is a bacterial infection, such as streptococcal pharyngitis and tonsillitis ( purulent angina ), Ludwig ‘s angina , otitis or sinusitis . Pus in the throat may indicate complications of strep throat, and these include, for example, a peritonsillar abscess or a rare condition called phlegmon of the neck . Pus in the throat may appear as a result of tooth decay , and sometimes also fungal infections.

With the appearance of pus in the throat, there are generally symptoms such as:

  • fever,
  • chills,
  • sore throat,
  • neck stiffness
  • redness and swelling of the throat,
  • ear pain,
  • muscle aches,
  • enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

Some people also experience increased drooling , swelling of the neck, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes trouble breathing and speaking.

Pus in the throat – not always the fault of bacteria

Although a white coating on the tonsils is a typical symptom of strep throat, the presence of pus on the tonsils is not always due to bacterial infection. With some viral diseases, especially in the course of infectious mononucleosis (EBV infection), a raid on the tonsils may also occur. This is important because viral infections are not treated with antibiotics, unlike bacterial infections.

Pus in the throat – what to do, what tests to perform?

The appearance of pus in the throat always requires a visit to a doctor who, based on symptoms, medical history, and sometimes also diagnostic tests, including imaging, will be able to determine what is the cause of purulent in the throat. We should not make a diagnosis on our own. In most cases, it is necessary to take antibiotics, which must be prescribed by a doctor. It is also better not to delay a medical consultation, because bacteria can spread and infections, such as angina, can result in complications in other organs, e.g. heart or kidneys.

Pus in the throat – complications

Pus may appear in the deep spaces of the neck due to the spread of purulent processes. It happens that it reaches the intervertebral spaces, mediastinum and threatens the development of sepsis . However, these cases are rare and usually concern people with reduced immunity, diabetics or other serious diseases. If purulent content from the tonsils passes through the muscles into the parapharyngeal space, it begins to spread between the muscles inside the neck. Infected contents can penetrate not only down into the chest, but also towards the cranial cavity. Alarming signals are high fever, severe neck pain, deteriorating condition of the patient. The neck on the affected side is swollen, painful and bulging. Difficulty breathing may occur.

You should also remember about the possible complications of bacterial tonsillitis. Belong to them:

  • peritonsillar abscess,
  • purulent inflammation of the neck lymph nodes ,
  • purulent otitis media,
  • rheumatic fever,
  • acute inflammation of the kidneys,
  • pneumonia ,
  • meningitis .

Pus in the throat – how to treat?

Purulent lesions in the throat are usually treated with antibiotics . Penicillin is most commonly used for strep throat. The therapy lasts 10 days. This time must not be shortened. Antibiotic therapy should always last as long as prescribed by the doctor, even if the troublesome symptoms have completely disappeared.

In addition to causal treatment, conservative treatment is also important, which consists of rest at home, hydration of the body, humidification of the air and a gentle diet. Over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, as well as throat sprays with analgesic and antimicrobial effects, lozenges or gargling with herbal infusions or salt water (read: home remedies for sore throat) will help to reduce pain.

Treatment of severe cases of purulent lesions in the throat requires a hospital stay, as the patient must be under close supervision. Antibiotics are administered intravenously, surgery may be necessary, e.g. requiring emptying the oil tank, i.e. drainage


Author: DoctorMaryam.org

4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: