Tonsillitis, Its Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of the tonsils at each side on one tonsil in your throat. Tonsils are two oval-shaped tissue pads present at the back area of your throat. 

Symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, tender lymph nodes on the sides of your neck, swollen tonsils, and difficulty in swallowing. Infection with a common virus is the main cause of tonsillitis. But some bacterial infections can also induce the symptoms of tonsillitis.

Appropriate tonsillitis treatment is associated with the causes. That is the reason it is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. When tonsillitis occurs on a frequent basis and other treatments do not work then your doctor may suggest surgery.


Most commonly, tonsillitis affects children of preschool and midteens. Following are the common symptoms of tonsillitis.

  • Sore throat
  • Swollen and red tonsils
  • Yellow or white patches or coating on tonsils
  • Painful or difficulty in swallowing 
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck or pain in the neck
  • Bad breath
  • Stomachache
  • A scratchy, throaty, or muffled voice
  • Enlarged lymph nodes or tender glands in the area of the neck

Symptoms of tonsils in young children who cannot describe these symptoms properly are:

  • Unusual fussiness
  • Drooling due to painful or difficult swallowing 
  • Refusal to eat

Accurate diagnosis is important if your child is having the symptoms of tonsillitis. Call the doctor if your child is suffering:

  • Extreme fussiness, weakness, or fatigue
  • A sore throat and fever
  • Difficulty or pain in swallowing
  • A sore throat that persists for 24 to 48 hours

Get immediate medical care if your child is facing difficulty in breathing, excessive drooling, and extreme issues in swallowing.


A common virus can make you vulnerable to have tonsillitis but some bacterial infections are also responsible for causing this virus. Streptococcus pyogenes is the common bacterium that leads to strep throat. Some strep strains and bacteria can also cause tonsillitis.


You can use the following at-home care tips during your recovery. These tips will help you to recover fastly.

  • Encourage rest
  • Take adequate fluids
  • Use comforting foods
  • Offer lozenges to your children if they are older than 4 years 
  • Try to avoid irritants
  • Humidify the air of your home
  • Treat fever and pain well


Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotics course if the cause of your tonsillitis is a bacterial infection. A common treatment for antibiotics is penicillin that people can take by mouth. The doctor prescribes you penicillin for ten days.

It can be used for tonsillitis that is caused by the group A streptococcus. Your doctor will suggest you an alternative antibiotic if your child gets an allergy after using penicillin. Do not stop taking the full course of antibiotics even if your child has recovered completely.

Do not leave the condition untreated because it can make your symptoms of tonsillitis worse. Moreover, it enhances your child’s risk of getting serious kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.

Give medication to your child at the proper time. If you forget to give him or her a dose then talk to your doctor or discuss it with a pharmacist.


Tonsillectomy or surgery to remove tonsils can be used to treat recurring, bacterial, or chronic tonsillitis frequently that does not respond to the treatment of antibiotics.  Frequent tonsils is defined as:

  • Having three episodes in one year or past three years
  • At least seven episodes in the current year
  • Having five episodes in one year in the past two years

If tonsillitis symptoms are difficult to manage then doctors can perform tonsillectomy such as:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Improper recovery of abscess with antibiotic treatment

The tonsillectomy has proceeded as an outpatient procedure unless your child is having a complex medical condition. It is also done as an outpatient procedure if your child gets complications during the process of surgery or if he or she is young.

It means your child should be able to manage going home after the day of surgery. It takes seven to fourteen days to recover completely. It is possible that your tonsils may go away within four to ten days. Wait for your tonsils to go away and follow all the precautions at home. 

If you leave the condition of tonsillitis untreated then you may become vulnerable to develop a complication known as a peritonsillar abscess. The area is present around tonsils that are filled with bacteria. It can cause muffled voices and severe pain in the throat.

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