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Tonsils – useless, unnecessary appendages! Or are they? What in fact are tonsils, where can they be found, what do they do, & why do so many people get rid of them? Let's find out.

Tonsils are ‘fleshly parts’ of the throat. But rather than being made of skin or muscle, they are made up of white blood cells clinging together in an organised fashion. Tonsils, like other lymphoid tissues, are white blood cells caught up in a net of fibrous strands. Each tonsil works as an infection-fighting ball, designed to filter out infectious bacteria.
Your tonsils do an important, but highly underrated, task. Tonsils ‘police’ our throats. They literally eat up germs & send out chemicals to destroy bacteria & viruses. The white blood cells in the bloodstream circulate, but these cells ‘guard the gates’ rather than regulating the bloodstream and they live in lymphoid tissue (like tonsils, adenoids, lymph nodes & the spleen.)

So if the tonsils are so beneficial, why do people get them removed? Simple - blockage and/or infection.

*Blockage- when the lymphoid tissue inside the throat or nose enlarges, it can block breathing, which can be fatal.

*Infection- Tonsils can become so loaded with germs, that they themselves become a source of an infection. Still confused? The tonsils become clogged, So they can’t dispose of germs and they become a large ball of germs themselves.

Several bad reasons to have your tonsils removed- ‘We don’t need them’, ‘Your father had his out’, ‘It’s better to get them out when you're young’ & ‘Everybody else is doing it.’

After World War Two, it was fashionable to have a tonsillectomy. Although the removal was generally unnecessary, nobody who did this seemed to have any long-term affects.

When the tonsils are surgically removed, careful attention is paid to make sure there is as little bleeding as possible. If you do get a tonsillectomy, make sure to take around two weeks off work as recovery is pretty slow & depression is common, for both children & adults.

What can impede recovery? Dehydration. When our throats hurt we are less likely to drink, but the throat needs water to soothe it. So even though it may hurt to swallow, we MUST drink to help recovery.

So how do you feel about your tonsils now that you realise the vital function they perform? Still keen to get rid of them? Or would you agree that the wise course is to leave them be until infection or blockage necessitates their removal?