What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis can manifest at any age and a prevalent form of childhood ailment. The tonsils are 2 lymph nodes positioned on each side of the back of the throat. They function as a defense mechanism to prevent infection. In case the tonsils are infected, it is a condition known as tonsillitis.

The condition is often identified in children starting at preschool years up to mid-teens. Remember that the condition is considered contagious and can be caused by various bacteria and viruses. The condition is easily diagnosed, and the symptoms typically settle within 7-10 days.

What are the signs?

Some of the possible symptoms that might manifest include:


For a mild case, treatment is not necessary especially if the cause is viral such as the common cold.

  • Sore throat
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Scratchy voice
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Earache
  • Stiff neck
  • Stomach pain
  • Swollen and reddened tonsils
  • Tenderness of the jaw and neck due to enlarged lymph nodes
  • White or yellowish spots on the tonsils

Among young children, there is diminished appetite, increased irritability or excessive drooling.

Management of tonsillitis

For a mild case, treatment is not necessary especially if the cause is viral such as the common cold.

As for severe cases of tonsillitis, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics or perform tonsillectomy.

Antibiotics work by fighting the bacterial infection. The individual should complete the prescribed course of antibiotics. A follow-up appointment is necessary to ensure that the course was effective.

Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure where the tonsils are removed. This is only suggested for individuals suffering from long-standing or recurrent tonsillitis. Surgical intervention is also an option if the condition if there is no effect to the treatments provided or if it causes complications.

Some of the home measures to alleviate a sore throat include:

  • Adequate rest
  • Increase the intake of fluids
  • Gargle warm salt water several times throughout the day
  • Avoid smoking
  • Use throat lozenges
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air inside the house

In some cases, an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be given.


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