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If Bacteria Aren’t Causing Sore Throat, Will Tonsillectomy Help?
from Dina

Dear Ed:  My name is Dina and I am thrilled to find FlakeHQ.  I have had mild-to-moderate guttate P for 22 years.  It would  usually flare during or after colds or various infections.  I often have sore throat and sinus problems but I was never cultured for strep.  The cold would go away and I hardly used antibiotics.  I always thought of  them as viral infections and didn't pay that much attention to them, although my skin would get worse during those episodes.  About a month ago I had either a flu or a bad cold with a very sore throat which went away after 10 days or so. Two weeks  later I had a major explosion of  P. I went to see a derm. who suggested I have a tonsillectomy. I have read all about tonsillectomies at your site and a few articles pro and con about the surgery.  But I wonder,  if my sore throat was not caused by strep but a severe viral infection, would  it still help my psoriasis to have my tonsils out.  Any comments?  Thanks a lot, -Dina

*****

Ed’s Response: You ask a very good question, Dina.  It's my understanding that the tonsils play a role in combating bacterial infections (like strep) and sometimes, like a "living antibiotic," they can exacerbate rather than curtail a bacterial infection problem.  By removing the tonsils (it's thought) the exacerbation problem is removed.  Viruses, however, are a different bug <smile>.  Elsewhere in the body we fight them differently than we do bacterial infections and I've never heard it said that the tonsils play a role in combating viral infection.  Which would suggest: if your sore throats were caused by a virus, removing your tonsils might do nothing.

It's too late now to know what was going on a month ago, subsequent to which you had your P explosion.  However, next time you get a similar "flu or a bad cold" you might want to have your throat cultured.  If it comes up strep (or some other bacteria) your derm's recommendation that you have your tonsils removed could be validated.  If, on the other hand, the culture doesn't suggest bacteria, you may be back to square one.

Let me know how things turn out.  -Ed

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