Sign & Symptoms
- Sore throat
- Pain is experienced when swallowing
- Difficulty in swallowing
- White patches appear on tonsils
- Fever and chills
- Enlarged lymph nodes found at the jaws and neck
- Loss of voice
- Children may complain of abdominal pain
What causes it
Tonsillitis is usually caused by viruses. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection.
If the tonsillitis is a result of a specific type of bacteria (group A streptococci), it can also be known as a strep throat.
About the condition
Tonsillitis is a condition where the tonsils become infected with a virus or bacteria. The tonsils are the two fleshy pads on the sides at the back of the throat.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Doctors will check for signs of infection, such as redness and pus at the tonsils. Doctors may also do the following tests:
- Throat swab – A sterile swab is rubbed over the back of the throat to get a sample of the secretions. The sample will be checked in the lab for streptococcal bacteria.
- Complete blood cell count (CBC) – A blood test known as a CBC may help identify the cause of the infection. With a CBC, a sample of blood is tested. The presence of a high number of white blood cells or abnormal cells is an indication of viral infection.
Tonsillitis caused by a virus is typically treated with home-care. If the tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. It is important to finish the full course of antibiotics even if you already feel better. Not finishing the medication may cause the infection to recur.
If you have a positive strep test, you need to complete at least 24 hours of antibiotic treatment before returning to work or school.
If your child who is suffering from Tonsillitis has difficulty swallowing, antibiotics may be given through injection.
In some cases, treatment with steroid medications may reduce swelling.
Removing the tonsils by surgery (tonsillectomy) may be recommended when other treatments fail to work.
Tonsillectomy is rarely needed for adults. During childhood, surgery may be recommended when a child has had:
- More than six serious throat infections in one year
- More than four serious throat infections every year over a two-year period
- More than two serious throat infections every year over a three-year period