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Tonsillitis Problem

Sign & Symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Pain is experienced when swallowing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • White patches appear on tonsils
  • Headache
  • 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 most commonly caused by viruses but can also result from bacterial infections. If caused by group A streptococci bacteria, it is referred to as strep throat.

About the condition

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils, two fleshy pads located at the back of the throat, and can be viral or bacterial in nature.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

To diagnose tonsilitis, doctors will look for signs of infection, such as redness and pus at the tonsils and may conduct tests including:

  • Throat swab – A sample from the throat is tested in the lab for streptococcal bacteria. 
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC) – This blood test helps determine the cause of the infection, with a high white blood cell count or abnormal cells indicating a viral infection. 
Viral tonsillitis is often managed with home care. Bacterial infections may require antibiotics and it is crucial to complete the prescribed course to prevent recurrence. If a strep test is positive, at least 24 hours of antibiotic treatment is necessary before returning to work or school.

In cases where children with tonsillitis have difficulty swallowing, antibiotics might be administered via injection. Steroid medications may be used reduce swelling.
Surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be recommended when other treatments are ineffective. While rare in adults, it may be recommended for children experiencing:
  • More than six severe throat infections in one year
  • More than four severe throat infections per year over two years
  • More than two severe throat infections per year over three years
  • All our ENT doctors are able to perform tonsillectomy. Refer here for the full list of our doctors
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