White spots on the tonsils are usually a sign of pus, that tend to appear due to a bacterial infection, such as strep throat or pneumococcus. However it can also be a sign of a viral infection, such as mononucleosis, measles or cytomegalovirus. Therefore, usually the treatment is done with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and, if necessary, antibiotics, prescribed by a general practitioner.
The pus that appears in the throat should not be removed with your finger or swab as it will continue to form until the inflammation improves, and doing so may create wounds, as well as worsening the pain and swelling in that area. However, it is important to remember that the presence of yellow or whitish spots on the tonsils, without other symptoms, may be just a sign of tonsil stones.
What remedies can be used
Treatment should be carried out according to the cause of the infection, which must be diagnosed by a general practitioner or otolaryngologist.
The main remedies that are usually used include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, nimesulide and ketoprofen: to improve inflammation, redness, difficulty swallowing and fever;
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone or dexamethasone: these are used when anti-inflammatory drugs do not solve the problem, or the sore throat is intense;
- Antibiotics, such as benzarhine benzylpenicillin, amoxicillin or azithromycin: these are used only in cases of bacterial infection, to eliminate the bacteria that caused the infection.
In some cases, the infection may form an abscess in the tonsils, and when this happens, the doctor can drain the accumulated pus.
Home treatment options
There are home remedy options that can help treat throat inflammation, and reduce the amount of pus such as:
- Gargling with lukewarm water and salt, or lemon with water and honey;
- Honey teas with ginger, eucalyptus, mauve, salvia or althea;
- Drinking grapefruit juice. Ideally, grapefruit juice should not be used if you are already taking medication prescribed by your doctor, as it may reduce the effectiveness of the medication.
This type of treatment can be carried out as soon as the throat begins to become swollen, to avoid it getting worse, or in conjunction with the medication to remove the pus from the throat prescribed by the doctor. In addition, throughout the treatment, it is important to rest and drink plenty of fluids, to help the body recover.