Tonsillitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Tips For Prevention

Tonsillitis is a condition which occurs when the tonsils become infected. Tonsillitis can occur at any age and are a common childhood infection. Here's everything you need to know about the highly contagious condition.

Tonsillitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Tips For Prevention

Tonsillitis is highly contagious


  1. Tonsils are vulnerable to infections caused by foreign invaders in body
  2. Tonsillitis can cause sore throat and difficulty in swallowing
  3. Children are prone to germs which can cause tonsillitis

The two lymph nodes which are located on each of the back of your throat are known as tonsillitis. Tonsils function as a defense mechanism which helps prevent infections in the body. Tonsillitis is a condition which occurs when the tonsils become infected. Tonsillitis can occur at any age and are a common childhood infection. They are usually diagnosed among children as young as in preschool to the ones who are in their mid-teens. Common symptoms of tonsillitis include swollen tonsils, fever and sore throat. There are various causes of tonsils. Tonsillitis is highly contagious and can be diagnosed easily. If dealt with properly, tonsillitis cure can be done within 10 days.


Tonsillitis causes swollen tonsils
Photo Credit: iStock

Causes of tonsils

Tonsils are probably the first line of defense against illness. They play the role of producing white blood cells in order to help body fight against infections. Tonsils help in combatting the bacteria and viruses which enter the body through mouth. And while they offer protection against these infections, tonsils too are vulnerable to some infections by these foreign invaders which enter your body.

Also read: Sore Throat? Follow These Natural Remedies

Common cold, virus, bacterial infection or strep throat can cause tonsillitis. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that around 30% of tonsillitis is caused by strep bacteria. The most common cause of tonsillitis is viruses. Epstein-Barr virus can cause tonsillitis.

Children are particularly prone to germs which can cause tonsillitis. This is because they come in close contact with other infected children at school or while they go out to play. They exposed to a variety of viruses and bacteria.


Tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria causing common cold
Photo Credit: iStock

Symptoms of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis can be of various kinds. Some common symptoms of tonsillitis include difficulty in swallowing or experiencing pain while swallowing, sore throat, bad breath, a scratchy voice, fever, stomach aches, headaches, chills, tenderness in jaw and neck because of swollen lymph nodes, jaw and neck tenderness, stiff neck, tonsils that appear red and swollen and tonsils which have white or yellow spots.

Very young children suffering from tonsillitis may experience poor appetite, excessive drooling and increased irritability.

Also read: Here's How To Get Rid Of Phlegm And Mucous In The Chest, Throat

Types of tonsillitis

Essentially, tonsillitis is of 2 kinds: chronic tonsillitis and recurrent tonsillitis. Chronic tonsillitis has episodes which are longer than acute tonsillitis. Chronic tonsillitis is characterised by bad breath, tender lymph nodes in the neck and chronic sore throat.


Tonsillitis can be treated with the help of some antibiotics
Photo Credit: iStock

Diagnosis of tonsillitis

Diagnosis of tonsillitis is done by undergoing a physical examination of throat. Swabbing the back of your throat maybe done for a throat culture test. This test will help in finding out the cause of infection.

Treatment of tonsillitis

Mild cases of tonsillitis do not essentially require a treatment. Tonsillitis does not need treatment in case it is caused by virus or cold. More severe cases of tonsillitis may be treated with the help of antibiotics or tonsillectomy, which is a surgery for removal of tonsils.

Antibiotics are prescribed to fight bacterial infections effectively. Tonsillectomy is usually suggested for people with chronic or recurrent tonsillitis. The surgery is meant for those who do not respond to the other treatment of tonsillitis. Intravenous fluids are also required in case a person becomes dehydrated because of tonsillitis. Pain relievers may be recommended in order to relieve pain in case of sore throat.

Common home remedies for tonsillitis cure include taking lots of rest, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding smoking and salt water gargles.

Also read: Take Note Of These Home Remedies For Tonsils

Complications of tonsillitis

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common complication among people who experience chronic tonsillitis. This happens because of swelling in airways which prevent a person from sleeping well.

At times, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. This condition is known as tonsillar cellulitis. It results in development of pus behind tonsils.

Complications could also develop in case you are not taking proper course of medications.

Prevention of tonsillitis

Since tonsillitis is highly contagious, you simply need to stay away from people who are suffering from the infection. Wash your hands as often as possible. Wash your hands especially after you come in contact with someone who has a sore throat, or is sneezing and coughing.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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