When a sore throat is more than a bother | Lifestyles

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When A Sore Throat Is More Than A Bother | Lifestyles

When A Sore Throat Is More Than A Bother | Lifestyles

Dr. Charles Hurbis specializes in treating health issues of the ears, nose and throat and his office is located at 2695 N 17th Thompson Road, across from Bay Area Hospital.

When A Sore Throat Is More Than A Bother | Lifestyles

I visited Dr. Hurbis wanting to know about tonsil stones or tonsillitis. I used to refer to them as, “those things you get in your throat.” We started with a little anatomy lesson.

When A Sore Throat Is More Than A Bother | Lifestyles

Doctor Hurbis says, Tonsils are basically part of the lymphatic system – lymph nodes in your neck. “We have about 160 lymph nodes on each side of the neck, we have tonsil tissue and adenoid tissue.” 

When A Sore Throat Is More Than A Bother | Lifestyles

“Debris within the tonsil, also classified as a tonsil stone, you see that all the time. Most people are going to have some form of that and they aren’t even aware of it. It causes a foreign body sensation, you can feel some debris that shouldn’t be there, and it feels awkward. If it becomes inflamed or infected you can have a sore throat.”

When A Sore Throat Is More Than A Bother | Lifestyles

“The debris itself, it’s just debris. It can become secondarily infected with anaerobic bacteria – not even the right word – colonization is a better word. That anaerobic bacteria can give a horrible odor. People who have a lot of it, those people have really bad breath. Those ‘things’ come up, they smell actually horrible. Anaerobic bacteria caused it, that’s not an infection. But an infection might have led to that.”

“Bacteria or viral infections and even or inflammation from something in your environment, like with kids cigarette smoke.” And depending on what you are sensitive to, can be your offender.

Dr. Hurbis said “When you look at the tonsil, it’s not a mass. It looks kind of like the moon, but it’s not like the moon. Those little craters are actually called crypts. And those little depressions go way down deep, and it’s down deep where these ‘things’ form.”

These things, called tonsiliths or tonsil stones “will either come to the surface and extrude or cause a chronic problem.”

Dr. Hurbis works closely with local allergist Dr. Joeseph Morgan, calling him “top notch,” and several pediatricians. He says the landscape of health care has changed and we are at the mercy of insurance companies determining if a suggested treatment is deemed necessary.

Chronic issues can manifest in the sinus or tonsils, ears or other parts of the body. “Lower grade infections can become your normal, which means you just learn to live with those ongoing issues. Until you figure out what your trigger is. You can go through time periods where it’s better or worse,” said Dr. Hurbis. “You can have a chronic condition that blows out of wack.”

Because lymph nodes are part of our body’s first defense they react to allergens: like to smoke, from cigarettes or wood fires; fragrance, like perfumes or floral scents; perhaps foods. Doctor says “people who have the occasional glass of wine or are exposed to pets can have a sinus flare up.”

“We are constantly secreting blood cells, antibodies and those things can sludge inside those little creases, in the crypts, and those things can form a mass. That mass can get bigger until it finally comes to the surface. Your tonsil doesn’t like that ‘thing’ and it’s trying to get rid of it. If your tonsil can’t extrude that mass that’s when you have a true tonsil stone. Those are pretty uncommon.”

We should be drinking about 60 ounces of fluid a day, not caffeine it’s a diuretic, and it causes thickening of mucous, and sludging. Give up coffee? He says no, absolutely not. 

“Hydration is very important, people who tend to be dehydrated are more at risk of getting this because they get sludge in with the debris within the tonsil crypts” If you’re well hydrated your’e going to do better.” Dr. Hurbis said “a peroxide gargle will help get down inside the crypts and sometimes foam that stuff to the surface and bring it out. You are trying to improve the hygiene of the tonsil, if its very early and superficial, it will sometimes work.”

“If a round of antibiotics that fights anaerobic bacteria doesn’t solve the problem, and the problem returns in two weeks, then you have a more chronic issue. That’s a chronically diseased tonsil and that’s when a tonsilectomy would be appropriate.”

“There is no way to underplay a tonsillectomy, it’s a big deal. It’s going to get your attention. Recovery depends on your age; older, it takes a little longer.” Two weeks he says people are going to feel pretty fine.

Dr. Hurbis says he sees two or three cases of chronic tonsillitis a year.

Insurance companies are in charge now. So waiting too long to get care isn’t suggested. Don’t wait for your sore throat to become a chronic issue.

Those chronic issues can lead to other problems.

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