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How long does it take tonsillitis to go away: What is tonsillitis and how do you know if you have it?


What is tonsillitis and how do you know if you have it?

Your child’s throat is sore and they’re coughing. Or maybe you have a fever and are having difficulty swallowing. These are common symptoms of a cold or the flu, but can they also be symptoms of tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis shares many of the symptoms (and causes) of other illnesses that affect your throat – which can make it hard to know if you have tonsillitis or something else.

Below, we answer all your questions about tonsillitis, including how tonsillitis differs from other illnesses. Read on to learn how to get the care you need when you need it.

First, what are tonsils?

Tonsils are two small masses of tissue located at the back of your throat. Tonsils are a part of your immune system and help prevent infection by trapping the germs that enter through your nose and mouth.

What is tonsillitis?

While tonsils do a great job of protecting you, sometimes the tonsils themselves can get infected. When tonsils get infected, swollen or inflamed, it’s called tonsillitis.

Symptoms of tonsillitis

The telltale sign of tonsillitis is tonsils that usually look red and swollen, and coated with yellow or white spots or patches. But tonsillitis also comes with a range of other symptoms.

  • A sore throat that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Coughing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever higher than 100.9 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Headache
  • Voice changes

Symptoms of tonsillitis in young children

If your little one has tonsillitis, they may not be able to tell you how they feel. But it’s possible that they’ll be able tell you through their actions. The following behaviors may indicate that their throat is sore and it’s very difficult to swallow:

  • Fussiness
  • Drooling
  • Refusing to eat

Causes of tonsillitis

Most of the time tonsillitis is caused by viruses, such as the ones responsible for the common cold. If your tonsillitis is caused by a virus, you’re more likely to have mild symptoms that go away pretty quickly.

Tonsillitis can also be caused by bacteria, like the one that causes strep throat. If your tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, you’ll likely need antibiotics to help you get better.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Tonsillitis is not contagious, but the bacteria and viruses that cause tonsillitis usually are. And these germs can cause colds and other illnesses. So if you or your child has tonsillitis, practice good hygiene to keep germs from spreading.

Who gets tonsilitis

Tonsillitis is very common, and most people will get it at least once. Anyone can get tonsillitis, but it’s most common in kids between the ages of 5-15 years old. It’s rare in children under 2 years old.

Risk factors for tonsillitis

You may be more likely to get tonsillitis if:

  • You are a child or elderly
  • You are frequently around viruses or bacteria – for example, at a school or daycare
  • You have been exposed to radiation
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You live in a colder climate
  • You breathe high levels of airborne pollutants, such as smoke
  • You’re overweight or are living with diabetes or heart disease
  • You overuse corticosteroids

How long does tonsillitis last?

Tonsillitis can go away in a few days, or it can last for weeks. It can also go away and come back. The following are terms that your doctor may use when describing how long tonsillitis will last.

Acute tonsillitis

Acute tonsillitis is when the infection lasts between three days and two weeks. Acute tonsillitis is often caused by viruses and generally has more mild symptoms.

Chronic tonsillitis

Chronic tonsillitis is when symptoms last more than two weeks. People with chronic tonsillitis often have a sore throat, bad breath and enlarged lymph nodes that don’t go away.

Recurrent tonsillitis

Tonsillitis can also be recurrent, meaning that your tonsils get inflamed and infected multiple times in a year. Recurrent tonsillitis in kids is usually related to recurrent strep throat. In adults, recurrent tonsillitis is caused by different bacteria. Recurrent tonsillitis is more likely if:

  • The tonsillitis is caused by a strain of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Recurrent tonsillitis can happen, even if earlier episodes responded to antibiotics
  • A person has a weakened immune system
  • Other family members had recurrent tonsillitis
  • A child is between 5-7 years old – younger kids have larger tonsils, and their immune system isn’t fully developed to fight against attention

Comparing tonsillitis and other illnesses

Tonsillitis is caused by viruses and bacteria that affect your nose and throat – often the very same ones that cause colds and influenza. So, it’s no wonder that tonsillitis is commonly mistaken for other conditions.

Strep throat vs. tonsillitis

Strep throat is an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by a certain type of bacteria – streptococcus pyogenes. So, strep throat is usually considered a specific type of tonsillitis.

Sore throat (pharyngitis) vs. tonsillitis

The big difference between these two conditions is that pharyngitis affects the pharynx, (which is another name for the throat), whereas tonsillitis affects the tonsils.

Both pharyngitis and tonsillitis can be the result of viral or bacterial infections. Pharyngitis can also be caused by fungal infections.

These conditions can have very similar symptoms, including sore throat, difficulty swallowing and fever. But if you have enlarged lymph nodes, it’s more likely that you have tonsillitis. And if you have pharyngitis caused by a fungal infection, you’ll have more severe symptoms.

Cold vs. tonsillitis

Both colds and tonsillitis can be caused by the same viruses. In fact, cold viruses are one of the most common causes of tonsillitis. So, how do you know if a cold has turned into viral tonsillitis? If it’s tonsillitis, the tonsils will be swollen and may have spots on them. If you’re suffering from only a common cold, you won’t have swollen or infected tonsils.

COVID-19 vs. tonsillitis

Symptoms of COVID-19 and tonsillitis can be similar – with both you can have a sore throat, fever and headache. But if it’s extremely difficult to swallow or you have swollen tonsils, enlarged lymph nodes, bad breath or a stiff neck, it’s more likely to be tonsillitis. If you’re not sure, test for COVID-19 using an at-home antigen text.

Tonsillitis complications

Complications of tonsillitis are pretty rare. Still, they do happen. Here’s what can happen if you don’t get treatment.

Spreading bacterial infection

If you don’t get treatment for bacterial tonsillitis, the bacterial infection could spread to other parts of the body, causing problems.

Tonsil stones

If you have chronic tonsillitis, you may be more likely to have tonsil stones which are white or yellow bumps that cover your tonsils. These bumps collect materials such as bacteria, fungi, food, dead cells and salvia.
Tonsil stones aren’t usually harmful, but they can cause really bad breath that lasts for years or even a lifetime. Tonsil stones are most common for people between the ages of 18-35 years old.

Tonsil stones can usually be treated at home. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to remove your tonsils.

Breathing problems and sleep apnea

Swollen tonsils can block your airway, making breathing more difficult during the day and at night.
Tonsillitis may contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, a nighttime breathing disorder that happens when a person’s airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. In fact, enlarged tonsils are a main cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children.

If your child has symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to remove the tonsils.

Peritonsillar abscess

A rare complication from tonsillitis is a peritonsillar abscess. This is when a pocket of pus collects between the tonsils and the wall of the throat. This condition can cause swelling inside your mouth and throat, making it hard to breathe, swallow, speak or even open your mouth. Immediate medical attention is usually needed to drain the abscess.

A peritonsillar abscess is caused by the same bacteria responsible for strep throat and is more common in adolescents and adults.

Will tonsillitis go away on its own?

It depends. If tonsils are swollen but not painful, you typically don’t need to do anything. It’s likely the tonsillitis is caused by a viral infection and should go away within a couple of weeks with at-home treatments for tonsillitis.

But if the tonsillitis comes with a fever, doesn’t go away or keeps coming back, you or your child will probably need medical treatment to help the tonsillitis go away.

When to see a doctor for a sore throat and enlarged tonsils

In most cases, home treatment for tonsillitis will be all you need to help you get better. But there are times when you should get help from your doctor.

Make a primary care appointment if you or your child have:

  • A sore throat with a fever
  • A sore throat that doesn’t go away in a day or two
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Extreme fatigue

Head to the emergency room if you or your child have:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • A large amount of drool because it’s hard to swallow

During the appointment, your primary care doctor or clinician will look at your sore throat to see what might be causing your symptoms. They may also swab the back of the throat to collect a sample that can be tested for bacteria. If the test is positive, you’ll need antibiotics for a bacterial infection. If the test is negative, the tonsillitis is likely caused by a viral infection and should go away on its own.

If antibiotics don’t work or if the tonsillitis keeps coming back, your doctor will likely recommend you see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor to determine if a tonsillectomy, a procedure to remove your tonsils, may be an option to stop recurrent infections.

Symptoms, pictures, causes, and treatment

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Tonsillitis is a common infection of the tonsils.

The tonsils sit at the back of the throat. They are collections of lymphoid tissue that form part of the immune system.

Although tonsillitis can be uncomfortable and unpleasant, the condition is rarely a major health concern. Most people will recover from tonsillitis within a few days, whether they take medication or not. Most symptoms will resolve within 7–10 days.

In this article, we explain the causes, diagnosis, and symptoms of tonsillitis. We also provide some facts about treatment, including the removal of tonsils.

Share on PinterestA person with tonsillitis may experience a sore throat when swallowing.

The most common symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • a sore throat and pain when swallowing
  • red and swollen tonsils with pus-filled spots
  • fever
  • headache
  • difficulty swallowing
  • pain in the ears and neck
  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • coughing
  • chills
  • swollen lymph glands

Less common symptoms may include:

  • fatigue
  • stomach pain and vomiting
  • nausea
  • furry tongue
  • changes in the sound of the voice
  • bad breath
  • difficulty opening the mouth

Some people may develop tonsil stones, which doctors also call tonsilloliths or tonsillar calculi. A tonsillolith is a calcified buildup of material in the crevices of the tonsils.

They are generally small, but in rare cases, they may be larger.

Tonsil stones can be a nuisance and sometimes difficult to remove, but they are not generally harmful.

When to see a doctor

Tonsillitis can sometimes cause the throat to swell so much that breathing becomes difficult. This is rare, but If it occurs, seek medical attention urgently.

Also, if a person experiences any of the following symptoms, they should visit their doctor:

  • a high fever
  • a stiff neck
  • muscle weakness
  • a sore throat that persists for longer than 2 days

To diagnose tonsillitis, a doctor will start with a general examination and will check for swelling around the tonsils, often with white spots.

Doctors may also inspect the exterior of the throat for signs of enlarged lymph glands and a rash that sometimes occurs.

The doctor might take a swab of the infected area for closer inspection. Using this technique, they can determine whether the cause of the infection is viral or bacterial.

They may also carry out a complete blood cell count. This test involves taking a tiny amount of blood to investigate levels of certain types of blood cells. This bloodwork can help a doctor supplement the information they have obtained from the swab.

In some cases, if the swab is inconclusive, a complete blood cell count can help the doctor determine the best treatment.

If a person cannot treat tonsillitis at home, a range of treatment options is available.


People can use over-the-counter (OTC) pain relieving medications to numb the symptoms of tonsillitis.

If a bacterial infection is causing tonsillitis, a doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics. However, they will not do so for a person with viral tonsillitis. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses.

Penicillin is the most common antibiotic. When on a course of antibiotics, a person must follow the full course and continue taking them, even if the symptoms have resolved. Stopping a course of antibiotics part of the way through might allow the infection to spread.

Rarely, if left untreated, certain types of bacteria may lead torheumatic fever or kidney inflammation.


Previously, doctors regularly recommended surgery to treat tonsillitis. Today, a doctor will not recommend a tonsillectomy unless the condition is chronic and recurring.

Although the tonsils become less active after puberty, they are still a functional organ. For this reason, a surgeon will not remove them unless necessary.

A doctor might request a tonsillectomy if the tonsils are causing secondary issues, such as:

  • sleep apnea, which involves problems breathing at night
  • difficulties with breathing or swallowing
  • an abscess that is difficult to treat
  • tonsillar cellulitis, in which the infection spreads to other areas and leads to a buildup of pus behind the tonsils

If a tonsillectomy is necessary, doctors can choose from a variety of methods. Medical practitioners have successfully used lasers, radio waves, ultrasonic energy, cold temperatures, or a heated needle to remove the tonsils.

Surgery has increasingly become the last port of call. The negative implications of surgery may outweigh the positives of tonsil removal.

While tonsillitis can be distressing and uncomfortable when it occurs, it will pass without any serious long term implications for most people.

Learn more about treating tonsillitis at home here.

A few simple remedies can help a person reduce symptoms of tonsillitis at home:

  • Resting enables the body to preserve energy for fighting the infection rather than using it on daily activities.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids will prevent the throat from drying out and becoming more uncomfortable. When the body is responding to an infection, it needs more hydration than usual. Warm, preferably caffeine free drinks can also have a soothing effect.
  • Gargling with saltwater might reduce discomfort.
  • Sucking throat lozenges may help soothe the throat.
  • Dry air can irritate the throat. Using air humidifiers or sitting in a steamy bathroom can alleviate this.
  • Avoiding irritants, such as tobacco and smoky locations, can help a person reduce symptoms.
  • Taking medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help with pain and fever.

Tonsils are the first line of defense against potential diseases and infections. For this reason, they can easily develop an infection.

Tonsillitis is typically viral. Less commonly, bacteria can cause the infection.

Viral or bacterial tonsillitis can be contagious and spread from person to person. However, if tonsillitis is due to a secondary illness, such as sinusitis or hay fever, it is unlikely to spread.

Viral causes

A viral infection is the most common cause of tonsillitis. The most common types of virus that infect the tonsils include:

  • adenovirus, which is a possible cause of the common cold and sore throat
  • rhinovirus, which is the most common cause of the common cold
  • influenza, or flu
  • respiratory syncytial virus, which often leads to acute respiratory tract infections.
  • two subtypes of coronavirus, one of which causes SARS

Less commonly, the following can cause viral tonsillitis:

  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • herpes simplex virus (HSV)
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Bacterial causes

The most common type of bacteria to infect the tonsils is Streptococcus pyogenes. However, less often, other species can cause tonsillitis, including:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia
  • Chlamydia pneumonia
  • Bordetella pertussis
  • Fusobacterium
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Different types of tonsillitis may occur. Doctors define them by their symptoms and recovery period.

These include:

  • Acute tonsillitis: Symptoms usually last around 3–4 days but may last up to 2 weeks.
  • Recurrent tonsillitis: A person has several different instances of acute tonsillitis in a year.
  • Chronic tonsillitis: Individuals will have an ongoing sore throat and foul-smelling breath.

Diagnosing the type of tonsillitis will help a doctor decide the best course of treatment.

People often confuse tonsillitis with strep throat. However, there are important differences.

A specific type of bacteria called group A Streptococcus causes strep throat. Symptoms are often more severe. Streptococcus can also infect other parts of the throat.

Viruses may also cause tonsillitis. However, strep throat is purely a bacterial infection.

Bacterial tonsillitis can lead to complications. However, this is rare and usually occurs in young children. Viral tonsillitis does not usually lead to complications.

The infection may spread to other parts of the body and cause complications, including:

  • quinsy, or peritonsillar abscess, which is a build-up of pus between a tonsil and the throat wall
  • obstructive sleep apnea, in which the throat walls relax while a person is asleep and affect breathing and the sleep cycle

Rarer complications include:

  • scarlet fever
  • rheumatic fever, which causes inflammation throughout the body and leads to jerky body movements and pain in the joints
  • glomerulonephritis, in which the filtering mechanisms of the kidneys swell and trigger vomiting

Complications are usually rare. Tonsillitis clears up without issue for most people.

Shop for tonsillitis home remedies

The following home remedies are available for purchase online:

  • Shop for humidifiers
  • Shop for lozenges
  • Shop for acetaminophen
  • Shop for ibuprofen


Can I spread tonsillitis through kissing?


Yes, you can spread tonsillitis through kissing. Tonsillitis can develop due to a virus or bacteria.

Viruses and bacteria can spread through droplets from kissing, coughing, and sneezing. If you have tonsillitis, you should avoid kissing to prevent the spread of the virus or bacteria to another person.

Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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Everything you need to know about the symptoms and treatment of tonsillitis

Say “Aaah!”. The doctor examines the throat and says: hmm, it looks like tonsillitis. What is it, how not to miss the symptoms and where to start treatment – we tell in the article.

A few words about the disease

There are tonsils on each side of the throat. These are the defenders of our body, who take the first blow from infections and bacteria. If they do not cope with the load, then inflammation of the tonsils develops, which is called tonsillitis.

Not a single person is immune from the disease – it can occur at any age, although children are more susceptible to it. And the risk of its development arises if pharyngitis is not properly treated.

The good news is that the disease is easily diagnosed, and its symptoms, with proper treatment, disappear within 7-10 days.

It is divided into two types: acute and chronic tonsillitis. The acute condition is incredibly common in toddlers – almost every child can get sick at least once. It’s all about fragile immunity and communication crumbs with other children in the kindergarten, at school or for a walk.

A number of bacteria, fungi and viruses can cause the disease, including streptococcal and staphylococcal bacteria.


Here is a list of symptoms indicating a possible development of the disease:

  • white or yellow spots on the tonsils
  • tonsils enlarged
  • intolerable sore throat, burning sensation
  • bad breath
  • chills
  • headaches, earaches [3]

Important: you can become infected after communicating with other people for 48 hours.3 You can reduce the risks if you do not forget about hand hygiene: wash more often, do not touch the door handles in the subway, shops, cafes.

Other symptoms of tonsillitis that may occur in adults and children:

  • swollen lymph nodes
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • hardness, “stiffness” of the muscles of the neck


At the time of diagnosis, your doctor will examine your throat and take a culture test by gently rubbing the back of your throat with a cotton swab. She will go to the laboratory to install the causative agent of the disease.

Your choice of treatment can be influenced by the results of a blood test – this is how you and your doctor find out if your case is viral or bacterial.

Mild tonsillitis can be treated at home.

For this, the patient may be prescribed:

  • bed rest
  • course of antibiotics
  • gargling with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory solutions

If the disease recurs several times a year, this may indicate a chronic form. In this case, the following may be prescribed:

  • examination by a cardiologist to rule out heart pathologies
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • X-ray of the paranasal sinuses [1]

And in extreme cases, after a thorough examination, doctors may suggest surgical removal of the tonsils. Therefore, do not start tonsillitis and treat it with drugs that are suitable for its therapy. Does Angidac spray have a wide spray angle? and is suitable for adults and children from 3 years of age. Spray “Angidak Forte” has an increased dosage of benzydamine and allows you to use the drug more economically due to fewer clicks. The solution “Angidak Sept” is used for rinsing and allows you to mechanically remove plaque from bacteria, viruses or fungi from the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat. All Angidak products help relieve sore throat from the 1st minute [5,6]

Sources :

1. Clinical guidelines for the care of patients with tonsillitis, FGBU NIIDI FMBA of Russia

2. Tonsillitis, MedLine Plus https://medlineplus.gov/tonsillitis.html 9000 3

3. Everything You Need to Know About Tonsillitis https://www.healthline.com/health/tonsillitis

4. Comparison of the quality of benzydamine nebulizing preparations for the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the throat. S.V. Ryazantsev, A.A. Krivopalov et al. Consilium Medicum. 2018. Respiratory diseases

5. Simard-Savoie S, Forest D. Topical anaesthetic activity of benzydamine. Curr Ther Res. 1978; 23: 734-45

6. Important nuances of the inflammatory process in the oropharynx and the choice of optimal treatment tactics. E.L. Savlevich et al. Medical Council, No. 16, 2017

Tonsillitis (acute (tonsillitis) and chronic)

Tonsillitis is a disease in which inflammation of the tonsils develops, located in the back of the pharynx – one tonsil on each side. The most common symptoms of tonsillitis are sore throat, difficulty swallowing, enlarged tonsils, and painful lymph nodes in the sides of the neck.

Tonsillitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria.

Due to the fact that adequate treatment of tonsillitis depends on the cause, accurate and rapid diagnosis is essential. Operations to remove the tonsils, which were previously performed quite often, are currently recommended only for recurrent form, the presence of complications or resistance to conservative methods of treatment.

There are three types:

  • Acute tonsillitis. Symptoms usually last 3 or 4 days, but can last up to 2 weeks.
  • Recurrent tonsillitis – exacerbations occur several times a year
  • Chronic tonsillitis.


Typical symptoms of tonsillitis are sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, but the symptoms differ depending on the type of tonsillitis.

Acute tonsillitis. It occurs most often in children, but rarely in children under two years of age. Symptoms of acute tonsillitis include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Painful swallowing (odynophagia)
  • Painful lymph nodes in the neck
  • Mouth breathing, snoring or sleep apnea
  • Feeling tired, unwell, lethargic
  • Redness of the tonsils and/or presence of plaque or pus

A small red rash on the body may indicate that scarlet fever has complicated tonsillitis. Symptoms of acute tonsillitis usually last for several days, but in some cases they can last up to two weeks, even with treatment.

Chronic tonsillitis. Symptoms of chronic tonsillitis usually include:

  • Chronic sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Tonsil plugs
  • ;Permanently painful lymph nodes in the neck

Peritonsillar abscess is a severe case of tonsillitis in which an abscess or pocket of pus forms in the tonsil. It usually occurs in adolescents and adults, but can sometimes occur in children. Symptoms of paratonsillar tonsillitis include:

  • Significant temperature increase
  • Intense sore throat
  • Salivation
  • Difficulty opening the mouth (trismus)
  • Muffled voice

One tonsil looks bigger than the other

When should I see a doctor?

Seek medical attention if symptoms such as:

  • Sore throat with fever
  • Sore throat that persists for 24-48 hours
  • Severe soreness when swallowing
  • Great weakness, fatigue or nervousness

Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following are present:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extremely difficult swallowing
  • Excessive salivation

Causes and risk factors for tonsillitis

Bacterial and viral infections cause tonsillitis.

The most common cause is Streptococcus bacteria (streptococci), which can also cause strep throat. Other infections that can cause tonsillitis include:

  • Adenoviruses
  • Influenza virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Parainfluenza viruses
  • Enteroviruses
  • Herpes simplex virus

Some factors increase the risk of developing tonsillitis include:

  • Age. Children are more likely than adults to get tonsillitis. Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are more likely to get tonsillitis caused by bacterial infections. Viral tonsillitis is more common in very young children. Older people also have a higher risk of developing tonsillitis.
  • Exposure to microbes. Children have more contact with peers and thus infections spread more easily. Adults who interact with young children, such as teachers, can also get infections and tonsillitis.


Inflammation or swelling of the tonsils with frequent or chronic tonsillitis can cause complications such as:

  • Breathing problems during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Infection that extends deep into surrounding tissues (tonsillar cellulitis)
  • Infection resulting in a collection of pus behind the tonsil (peritonsillar abscess)

Streptococcal infection

If tonsillitis caused by group A streptococcus or another strain is not adequately treated, there is a high risk of developing rare diseases such as:

  • Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that can affect the heart, joints, system and skin.
  • Complications of scarlet fever, a streptococcal infection characterized by severe rash.
  • Inflammation of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis)
  • Reactive post-streptococcal arthritis, a condition in which inflammation of the joints develops.


The germs that cause viral and bacterial tonsillitis are contagious. Therefore, the best prevention is good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after going to the toilet and before eating.
  • Do not share food, glasses, water bottles or utensils.
  • Replace a toothbrush after a person is diagnosed with tonsillitis.

To prevent transmission of a bacterial or viral infection to others:

  • Stay at home when sick
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue
  • Wash hands after sneezing or coughing.


After taking the history, the doctor will begin a physical examination, which will include:

  • Using a lighted instrument to examine the throat, ears, and nose, which can also be sources of infection.
  • Examination of the body for a rash known as scarlet fever, which is associated with some cases of acute pharyngitis.
  • Palpation of the neck to detect swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes
  • Lung auscultation with stethoscope
  • Palpation of the abdomen to detect an enlarged spleen (if mononucleosis is suspected, in which the tonsils are also inflamed)

Throat swab

  • With this simple test, the doctor receives a swab containing a sample, which is then analyzed in the laboratory for the presence of streptococcal bacteria.
  • In modern clinics, the laboratory allows you to get the result of an express analysis within a few minutes. However, a second, more reliable test is usually sent to the lab, which can provide results within a few hours or a couple of days.


  • Your doctor may order a CBC to check for an inflammatory response to an infection.


Home care

Whether tonsillitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, the right home care strategies can help you recover faster.

If the suspected cause of tonsillitis is a virus, then the right strategies are the only treatment, as the doctor will not prescribe antibiotics. As a rule, it takes 7-10 days to recover.

The following is recommended during home recovery:

  • Adequate rest
  • Maintain adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration
  • Soft food intake
  • Salt water rinse
  • Humidify the air
  • Avoid irritants such as cigarette smoke or cleaning products that can irritate the throat.
  • Drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be taken (on the advice of a doctor) to relieve sore throat and reduce fever. Low fever without pain does not require treatment.

Children and adolescents should not take aspirin, which can lead to the development of such a serious complication as Reye’s syndrome.

Antibiotic therapy

If tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics.