Tonsillitis is inflammation (swelling) of the tonsils.
The tonsils are lymph nodes in the back of the mouth and top of the throat. They help to filter out bacteria and other germs to prevent infection in the body.
A bacterial or viral infection can cause tonsillitis. Strep throat is a common cause.
The infection may also be seen in other parts of the throat. One such infection is called
Tonsillitis is very common in children.
Common symptoms may be:
- Ear pain
Fever, chills Headache
- Sore throat – lasts longer than 48 hours and may be severe
- Tenderness of the jaw and throat
Other problems or symptoms that may occur are:
- Problems breathing, if the tonsils are very large
- Problems eating or drinking
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will look in the mouth and throat.
- The tonsils may be red and may have white spots on them.
- The lymph nodes in the jaw and neck may be swollen and tender to the touch.
Swollen tonsils that are not painful or do not cause other problems do not need to be treated. Your health care provider may not give you antibiotics. You may be asked to come back for a checkup later.
If tests show you do have strep, your doctor will give you antibiotics. It is important to finish all of your antibiotics as directed by your doctor, even if you feel better. If you do not take them all, the infection can return.
The following tips may help your throat feel better:
- Drink cold liquids or suck on fruit-flavored frozen bars.
- Drink fluids, and mostly warm (not hot), bland fluids.
- Gargle with warm salt water.
- Suck on lozenges (containing benzocaine or similar ingredients) to reduce pain (these should not be used in young children because of the choking risk).
- Take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen to reduce pain and fever. Do NOT give a child aspirin. Aspirin has been linked to
Some people who have repeated infections may need surgery to remove the tonsils (
Tonsillitis symptoms due to strep will often get better within 2 or 3 days after you start the antibiotics.
Children with strep throat should be kept home from school or day care until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours. This helps reduce the spread of illness.
Complications from strep throat may be severe. They can include:
Abscess in the area around the tonsils
- Kidney disease caused by strep
Rheumatic feverand other heart problems
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if there is:
Excess drooling in a young child
Fever, especially 101°F or higher
Pus in the back of the throat
Red rash that feels rough, and increased redness in the skin folds
Severe difficulty swallowing or breathing
Tender or swollen lymph glands in the neck
Related:Tonsil and adenoid removal – discharge, Pharyngitis, Common cold, Dehydration, Peritonsillar abscess, Abscess, Rheumatic fever, Acute kidney failure, Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (GN)