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A gargle a day can keep the doctor away

Published: Friday, 20 April 2018

A gargle a day can keep the doctor away

A new animation has been developed to help people in Lanarkshire manage tonsillitis and potentially avoid unnecessary surgery.

A new animation has been developed to help people in Lanarkshire manage tonsillitis and potentially avoid unnecessary surgery.
People who suffer repeated bouts of tonsillitis often think the only cure is to have their tonsils removed – but using a simple warm salt water gargle twice a day can make all the difference and keep your tonsils clean and healthy.
Clinical nurse specialist Mary Wilson, who runs the tonsil clinic at University Hospital Monklands, said: “Many people don’t realise the tonsils have an important role in our bodies. They help fight off germs which we breathe in through our nose and mouth and try to prevent the germs from causing infections in other areas of the body.
“This is why we don’t recommend surgery unless you have had seven or more episodes of significant, adequately treated  tonsillitis in the past year or 5 or more episodes in each of the preceding 2 years.
“Tonsillectomy – or the removal of tonsils – isn’t always the answer to tonsillitis. The procedure involves a general anaesthetic and recovery takes around two weeks. As with all surgery it does also come with risk factors.
“But, we have found that if people follow the advice on tonsil hygiene and gargle with warm salt water twice a day, they can see a reduction in the number of sore throats or tonsillitis they get. Sometimes, it can even be enough to settle the tonsillitis altogether. It can also help with the build-up of tonsil stones and improve bad breath.
“I encourage my patients, from 7 to 30 years old, to try this for a six-month period and we have developed the animation to remind patients how to make the salt water solution and explain why it can make a difference”.
Patients attending the clinic will also be given a handy pocket sized guide to use as a reference and reminder of how and when to use this simple procedure.
The guides will also be available in GP surgeries
Mary added: “We hope that by raising awareness of how a small change to your daily routine can reduce your potential risk of tonsillitis, we can help people avoid unnecessary surgery and ensure people who do need a tonsillectomy can get their treatment sooner.

Watch the animation now