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Is bacterial tonsillitis infectious: Is Tonsillitis Contagious? Infection Transmission & Symptoms


Is Tonsillitis Contagious? Learn about Tonsillitis Today

How Contagious is Tonsillitis?

The viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis are contagious.

Is tonsillitis contagious by air? Yes. Tonsillitis can be spread by infected people coughing or sneezing droplets into the air and another person breathing them in.

Is tonsillitis contagious by direct and indirect contact? Yes. Tonsillitis can be spread by kissing; also by touching contaminated objects, such as a door handle, and then touching the face, nose, or mouth.

Is tonsillitis contagious in children? Yes. Tonsillitis is just as contagious for children as it is for adults. In fact, the majority of tonsillitis cases occur in children and teenagers.

What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a viral or bacterial infection that causes inflammation and swelling of the tonsils. Regardless of what pathogen is infecting the tonsils, tonsillitis is contagious.

About 70% of tonsillitis cases are caused by cold viruses such as adenovirus, rhinovirus, influenza, and others.

The remaining cases of tonsillitis are bacterial, mostly Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat).

How Long Is Tonsillitis Contagious For?

The length of contagion of tonsillitis depends on the severity and type of infection. Tonsillitis from a virus might last from 7 to 10 days, whereas tonsillitis from bacteria might last for several weeks (shorter if treated with antibiotics for tonsillitis). As an approximation, a person with tonsillitis will remain contagious for the duration of their symptoms.

Is tonsillitis contagious during incubation? Incubation is the time between contact with the pathogen and the development of symptoms. For tonsillitis, this typically takes 2 to 4 days. Tonsillitis is contagious for the last 1 to 2 days of incubation. If you think you have come in contact with something that may cause tonsillitis, assume that you are contagious for up to four days, even if no symptoms are present.

How easy is it to catch tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a symptom of infections like the common cold or flu and therefore is as easy to catch as those conditions. The best way to avoid tonsillitis is to follow the tips below.

Tips to Avoid Spreading Tonsillitis:

  • Wash hands following recommended CDC guidelines, particularly after touching the face, nose, or hands; before eating or cooking; and after using the bathroom.
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Do not cough into the open air and avoid coughing into your hands.
  • Stay at home until symptoms of tonsillitis go away.
  • Do not share objects such as drinking glasses, utensils, water bottles, or food with other people.

Anatomy of the Tonsils

There are several types of tonsils in the body. All are made of lymphoid tissue and help the body fight off infections. Most tonsils have crypts: small pits that store blood cells and antibodies that help prevent infections.

Types of tonsils:

  • Palatine tonsils — located in the back of the mouth on each side of the throat. “Tonsils,” when unspecified, typically refers to this type of tonsil. “Tonsillitis” refers to infection of the palatine tonsils.
  • Lingual tonsils — located at the base of the tongue in the back of the mouth.
  • Tubal tonsils — located on the wall of the pharynx near the opening to the eustachian tubes.
  • Pharyngeal tonsils — located in the back of the nasal cavity and do not have crypts.

Will Tonsillitis Go Away on its Own?

Tonsillitis may go away on its own in approximately 4 to 10 days. However, some forms of tonsillitis, such as that caused by strep bacteria, may cause health complications if left untreated.

So, when should you see a doctor for tonsillitis? If symptoms have not improved after four days, contact a doctor. A physician can diagnose the cause of tonsillitis and determine the best method of treatment.

Those suffering from chronic tonsillitis may be recommended to have their tonsils surgically removed. According to Cochrane Library Systematic Review, “Surgical removal of the tonsils is a commonly performed operation in patients with chronic or recurrent infections of the tonsils (tonsillitis) or the other tissues at the back of the throat (pharyngitis). However, opinions vary greatly about whether or not the benefits of these operations outweigh the risks.”

If the cause of tonsillitis is a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics. Our doctors at PlushCare make it simple for you to book an appointment, receive your diagnosis, and get you on the right treatment plan. PlushCare doctors can even write you a prescription for medication, if necessary.

Book an appointment here and talk to a doctor about your symptoms.

Read More About Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis in Adults | Cooper University Health Care

For information about COVID-19 and tonsillitis, and the differences between the two, please visit our COVID-19 and Tonsillitis page.

Tonsillitis means that your tonsils are inflamed or infected. Your tonsils are the large, fleshy glands at the back of your throat (one on each side). These glands make antibodies that help fight infection.

While tonsillitis is most often seen in children adults of any age can get it, too.

Tonsillitis can be caused by either bacteria or viruses. Some of them include:

  • Streptococcus (strep) bacteria; these germs are the most common cause of tonsillitis
  • Adenoviruses
  • Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Measles virus 

Tonsillitis caused by these germs is contagious, which means it is usually easily passed from one person to another.

Why Choose Cooper to Treat Tonsillitis

As ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists, Cooper’s team of otolaryngologists – head and neck surgeons have extensive training and experience in treating adults with tonsillitis both medically and surgically. Should surgery (tonsillectomy) be required, they use today’s most minimally invasive techniques for less pain and faster recovery.

Risk Factors for Tonsillitis in Adults

The major risk factors for tonsillitis in adults are:

  • Still having your tonsils: While many older adults may have had their tonsils removed when they were children—when surgery was a more routine approach to dealing with tonsillitis—a growing number of adults born in the 70s and later still have their tonsils, putting them at risk for getting tonsillitis
  • Living or working in close proximity to children: Parents, grandparents, teachers—anyone in frequent contact with children, in whom tonsillitis is most common—are at increased risk of getting tonsillitis themselves
  • Age: The elderly are more susceptible to infection due to a weakened immune system

Symptoms of Tonsillitis

While each person may have slightly different symptoms, these are the most common symptoms of tonsillitis:

  • Swollen, red tonsils; they also may look yellow, gray, or white, or have white spots/patches
  • Blisters or painful sores on the throat
  • Sore throat that happens suddenly
  • Pain when swallowing or difficult to swallow
  • Snoring
  • Foul breath
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck or jaw area

You may not have any symptoms but still have the strep bacteria, which you can spread to another person.

If tonsillitis is left untreated, a complication can develop called a peritonsillar abscess. This is an area around the tonsils that’s filled with bacteria, and it can cause these symptoms:

  • Severe throat pain
  • Muffled voice 
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty opening mouth

How Tonsillitis in Adults Is Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history and do a physical exam. To guide treatment, your provider may rub a sterile swab over the back of the throat and tonsils to get a sample of the secretions and perform:

  • Rapid strep test: This test can detect strep bacteria in minutes 
  • Throat culture and sensitivity: The sample is cultured in a lab for the presence of bacteria; it helps the provider choose the best antibiotic to treat it, but can take 48 to 72 hours to get the results

How Tonsillitis Is Treated

Treatment for tonsillitis depends on what caused it, how severe it is, and your general health. Treatment options may include:

  • Medications: Tonsillitis caused by a virus is treated differently from tonsillitis caused by bacteria.Tonsillitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotic medicine. A mild case of tonsillitis doesn’t necessarily require treatment if a virus, such as a cold, causes it. Some cases of tonsillitis caused by a virus may be treated with antiviral medicine.
  • Surgery: While surgery used to be a fairly common approach to dealing with tonsillitis, today, tonsillectomies are not performed unless the condition is chronic and recurring. If a person experiences tonsillitis seven times within a single year or 3 episodes per year for 3 consecutive years, a doctor would probably consider surgery. A tonsillectomy might also be recommended if the tonsils are causing issues such as sleep apnea difficulty breathing or swallowing, or a difficult-to-treat abscess
  • Self care/home care: To make yourself comfortable and ease the discomfort of a sore throat, be sure to:

     – Drink plenty of fluids
     – Rest
    – Gargle with warm salt water several times a day
     – Use throat lozenges
     – Avoid smoke
     – Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen

Contact Us

To learn more about the services available in the Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery or to schedule an appointment, please call 856. 342.3113.

Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis | Cedars-Sinai

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What are pharyngitis and tonsillitis?

Pharyngitis and tonsillitis are throat infections that cause
inflammation. If the tonsils are mainly affected, it is called tonsillitis. If the
throat is mainly affected, it is called pharyngitis. If you have both, it’s called
pharyngotonsillitis. These infections are spread by close contact with others. Most
cases happen during the winter or colder months.

What causes pharyngitis and tonsillitis?

There are many causes of throat
infections. Viruses are the most common cause and antibiotics will not help. Causes
throat infections include: 

  • Viruses (most common)
  • Bacteria such as strep
  • Fungal infections
  • Parasitic infections
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Other causes

What are the symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis?

The symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis depend greatly on what’s causing it. For
some people, symptoms may start quickly. For others, symptoms start slowly. These
are the most common symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever (low-grade or high-grade)
  • Headache
  • Loss in appetite
  • Not feeling well
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach aches
  • Painful swallowing
  • Redness or drainage in the throat

The symptoms of pharyngitis and
tonsillitis may look like other health conditions or problems. Always check with
your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How are pharyngitis and tonsillitis diagnosed?

In most cases, it is hard to tell
the difference between a viral sore throat and a strep throat based on a physical
But it is important to know if the sore throat is caused by strep bacteria. Then
antibiotics are needed to help prevent the complications that can happen with these

As a result, most people with the
above symptoms will get a strep test and throat culture to find out if it is an
infection caused by strep. This will be done using a throat swab in the healthcare
provider’s office.

Quick tests, called rapid strep tests, may be done. This may immediately show as positive
for strep and antibiotics can be started. If it is negative, part of the throat swab
will be kept for a throat culture. This will further identify strep in 2 to 3 days.
Your healthcare provider will discuss the treatment plan with you based on the findings.

How are pharyngitis and tonsillitis treated?

Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It
will also depend on how severe the condition is.

If bacteria are not the cause of
the infection, the treatment is often more for comfort. Antibiotics will not help
viral sore throats. Treatment may include:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain
    and fever
  • Drinking more fluids
  • Throat lozenges
  • Gargling with warm saltwater

Antibiotics are prescribed if the
cause of the infection is bacterial.

What are possible complications of pharyngitis and

Most cases of pharyngitis and tonsillitis will run their course
without any complications. But if the disease is caused by strep, rare complications
happen. These include rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, and kidney disease.
Treatment with antibiotics can prevent these complications. In rare cases, a pocket
infection (peritonsillar abscess) can develop in the tissues around the tonsils. This
may need surgery.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

If a sore throat is severe and includes trouble swallowing, drooling, or neck swelling,
see a healthcare provider right away.

Key points about pharyngitis and tonsillitis

  • Pharyngitis and tonsillitis are throat
    infections that cause inflammation.
  • Pharyngitis and tonsillitis can be
    caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and cigarette smoking.
  • Most infections are caused by viruses.
    Antibiotics don’t cure a viral infection, and should not be used.
  • If a bacterial infection is diagnosed,
    it will be treated with antibiotics.
  • Pharyngitis and tonsillitis can be
    treated with pain relievers, drinking more fluids, throat lozenges, and gargling with
    warm saltwater.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments,
    or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also
    know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD

Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD

Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

Not what you’re looking for?

Tonsillitis: Symptoms, Treatments and Causes

Treatment of tonsillitis

If you see your GP for tonsillitis, they probably won’t offer you antibiotics because they are unlikely to make much difference to your symptoms. Antibiotics don’t work against viral infections, which cause most cases of tonsillitis. Most people with tonsillitis find their symptoms improve after around a week, whether they take antibiotics or not.

Your GP may recommend antibiotics if they think they’ll help. They may prescribe antibiotics if you:

  • have very bad symptoms, which could suggest a more severe bacterial infection
  • could be prone to serious complications (see our Complications section for more information)

Your GP may give you a delayed prescription for an antibiotic. This means they’ll give you a prescription, but you don’t collect the medicine from the pharmacy straightaway. You only collect and take the antibiotic if your symptoms are not improving after three to five days, or if they’re getting worse.

If you do need an antibiotic, your GP is most likely to prescribe a five- to 10-day course of penicillin. It’s important to tell your GP if you’re allergic to this. If you are, the GP will give you another antibiotic instead.

If your GP prescribes antibiotics, it’s important to take them properly. You should complete the full course, even if you start to feel better. This helps to get rid of all the harmful bacteria and reduces the risk of resistance (when antibiotics no longer work against the bacteria).

Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine. If you have any questions about your medicine, speak to a pharmacist.

Surgery for tonsillitis

Your GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon if they feel having your tonsils removed will help. This operation is called a tonsillectomy. This will prevent you from getting tonsillitis in the future.

Your doctor will usually suggest a tonsillectomy only if you have had tonsillitis:

  • regularly and/or it affects your breathing
  • more than seven times in the last year
  • five times or more in each of the past two years
  • three or more times in each of the past three years

Your doctor may also recommend a tonsillectomy if you’ve had an abscess on your tonsil (a peritonsillar abscess or quinsy). This can be a complication of tonsillitis.

For children, your GP may recommend waiting to see if the tonsillitis gets better on its own before considering surgery. As children get older, they become less likely to have tonsillitis. A tonsillectomy is a very common operation and is usually very successful. But, like all operations, it can cause complications. Having a tonsillectomy doesn’t mean you won’t get a sore throat in the future.

Although your tonsils are part of your immune system, having them removed doesn’t cause any problems fighting infections. This is because the tonsils are just the visible part of a wider ring of tissue at the back of your throat. When they’re removed, enough of this tissue is left behind to keep fighting infections.

Tonsillitis | Michigan Medicine

Topic Overview

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is an infection or inflammation of the tonsils. The tonsils are balls of lymph tissue on both sides of the throat, above and behind the tongue. They are part of the immune system, which helps the body fight infection.

Tonsillitis often goes away on its own after 4 to 10 days.

What causes tonsillitis?

Most often, tonsillitis is caused by a virus. Less often, it is caused by the same bacteria that cause strep throat. In rare cases, a fungus or a parasite can cause it.

Tonsillitis is spread through the air in droplets when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. You may then become infected after breathing in these droplets or getting them on your skin or on objects that come in contact with your mouth, nose, or eyes.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of tonsillitis is a sore throat. The throat and tonsils usually look red and swollen. The tonsils may have spots on them or pus that covers them completely or in patches. Fever is also common.

If you feel like you have a cold, with symptoms such as runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing, a virus is most likely the cause.

If you have a sore throat plus a sudden and severe fever and swollen lymph nodes, but you do not have symptoms of a cold, the infection is more likely caused by bacteria. This means you need to see a doctor and probably need a strep test.

How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will look at your throat to see if you have red and swollen tonsils with spots or sores. These signs can mean you have tonsillitis.

Your doctor may do a rapid strep test along with a throat culture. These will show whether the tonsillitis is caused by streptococcus bacteria.

Your doctor may also ask about past throat infections. If you get tonsillitis often, it may affect the choice of treatment.

You may have a test for mononucleosis if your doctor thinks that you have mono.

How is it treated?

Tonsillitis caused by a virus will usually go away on its own. Treatment focuses on helping you feel better. You may be able to ease throat pain if you drink warm tea, take over-the-counter pain medicine, and use other home treatments. Do not give aspirin to anyone age 20 or younger. It is linked to a serious disease called Reye syndrome.

If your tonsillitis is caused by strep, you need treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics can help prevent rare but serious problems caused by strep and can control the spread of infection.

As a rule, doctors only advise surgery to remove tonsils (tonsillectomy) when there are serious problems with the tonsils. These include infections that happen again and again or long-lasting infections that do not get better after treatment and get in the way of daily activities. You and your doctor can decide if surgery is the right choice after a careful review of your or your child’s overall health.


Tonsillitis is usually caused by a virus. Bacteria can also cause tonsillitis. The most common bacterial cause of tonsillitis is group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS), which also causes strep throat.

Tonsillitis can also be caused by fungi or parasites. But these causes are rare in people who have healthy immune systems.

How tonsillitis is spread

Tonsillitis is spread by close contact with an infected person. Droplets of disease-causing agents (pathogens) pass through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. You may then become infected after you breathe in these droplets. Infection can also occur if pathogens get on your skin or on objects that come in contact with your mouth, nose, eyes, or other mucous membranes. Symptoms usually appear about 2 to 5 days after exposure.

A person with tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria is contagious early on and, without treatment, can remain so for up to 2 weeks. Antibiotics shorten the contagious period, and an infected person is no longer contagious about 24 to 48 hours after beginning antibiotic therapy.


The main symptom of tonsillitis is a sore throat. More symptoms occur in most cases. Some or all of the following may be present:

  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Red, swollen tonsils covered completely or in patches by pus
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headache
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Raw, bleeding patches on the tonsils

When you have sore throat plus cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, the cause is most likely a virus. Viral infection of the tonsils usually goes away without treatment within 2 weeks.

Sore throat with, swollen glands, a sudden fever above 101°F (38.3°C), and without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection may point to a bacterial infection like strep that needs to be treated with antibiotics.

What Happens

Tonsillitis, in most cases, lasts 4 to 10 days. A bacterial sore throat may last slightly longer but usually gets better with antibiotics.

In some cases, tonsillitis can become chronic. Surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be recommended for you or your child based on past health and results of physical exams.

Complications of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria that is not treated with antibiotics may result in complications, such as ear and sinus infections or pockets of infection outside the tonsils (peritonsillar abscess). More serious complications, such as rheumatic fever, are rare.

Recurrent and ongoing (chronic) tonsillitis may obstruct the upper airway and cause problems, such as snoring, nasal congestion, and mouth breathing. Sometimes chronic tonsillitis can lead to more severe conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea and heart and lung problems. But most children who have sleep apnea and enlarged tonsils do not have a history of tonsillitis.

What Increases Your Risk

Close contact with an infected person is the main risk factor for tonsillitis. Droplets of disease-causing agents (pathogens) pass through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. You may then become infected after breathing in these droplets. Infection can also occur if pathogens get on your skin or on objects that come in contact with the mouth, nose, eyes, or other mucous membranes.

Nasal obstruction causes you to breathe through your mouth, which increases the risk of tonsillitis.

When should you call your doctor?

Call your doctor if any of the following occur.

  • Sore throat, along with any two of these signs of bacterial infection:
    • Fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
    • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
    • Swollen, tender tonsils
    • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
    • Rash
    • Abdominal (belly) pain and headache
    • Severe pain
    • Severe difficulty swallowing
    • Pain on only one side of the throat
  • Tonsillitis or sore throat that starts after being exposed to someone who has strep throat.
  • 7 episodes of tonsillitis in 1 year despite treatment.
  • Persistent mouth-breathing, snoring, or a very nasal- or muffled-sounding voice.
  • Signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth and tongue and urinating less than normal.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your or your child’s symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. Watchful waiting is appropriate if tonsillitis occurs along with cold symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing. Tonsillitis with these symptoms is most often caused by a virus. Viral infection of the tonsils can be treated at home and in most cases goes away without treatment within 2 weeks. In general, the more like a cold the condition is, the less likely it is that the condition is caused by strep bacteria.

Watchful waiting is not appropriate if tonsillitis occurs with a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher or with swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. If these symptoms occur together, see a doctor. You may have strep throat, which should be treated promptly.

Who to see

Health professionals who can evaluate tonsillitis, perform quick tests or throat cultures, and prescribe antibiotic treatment, if needed, include:

If surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is indicated, your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat, or ENT, doctor).

Exams and Tests

Diagnosis of tonsillitis is based on a medical history and a physical exam of the throat. An accurate medical history is needed to find out whether tonsillitis is recurrent, which may affect treatment choices.

If your symptoms suggest strep throat, your doctor may want to confirm this diagnosis by doing a throat culture. Strep throat is more likely if 3 or 4 of the following signs or symptoms are present:

  • Fever
  • White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and/or tonsils (tonsillar exudates)
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes on the neck
  • Absence of coughing or sneezing

If a strep infection is suspected, your doctor may do a rapid strep test or a throat culture or both. Both of these tests can be done in a doctor’s office. You may want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each test to see which test is appropriate.

The results of these tests will determine whether antibiotic treatment is needed. These results combined with an accurate medical history will be considered in deciding whether surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is recommended.

If the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause mononucleosis, is suspected as a cause for the tonsillitis, a test for mononucleosis may be done.

Treatment Overview

Tonsillitis is most often caused by a virus, which resolves on its own. But tonsillitis can be caused by strep bacteria, which requires treatment with antibiotics. Watch for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth and tongue. Also, watch for signs of complications, such as ear pain, from tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria.

Tonsillitis caused by a virus

Tonsillitis caused by a virus will usually go away on its own. Antibiotics are not effective treatment for viral tonsillitis.

The virus that causes mononucleosis (mono) can lead to tonsillitis that is as severe as tonsillitis caused by bacteria and can take several weeks or more before it goes away.

Home treatments such as drinking warm tea and taking over-the-counter pain medicine (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) may help relieve discomfort. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of its link to Reye syndrome, a serious but rare problem.

Many nonprescription remedies such as antiseptic mouthwashes, decongestants, and antihistamines contain extra ingredients that don’t relieve discomfort. These remedies are not recommended for children, because they have not been proved to have any benefits in the treatment of acute tonsillitis.footnote 1

Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Tonsillitis caused by bacteria

Antibiotics are prescribed for tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria. A strep infection will usually go away on its own, but antibiotic treatment is needed because untreated strep throat can cause serious complications. For more information, see the topic Strep Throat.

If antibiotics are prescribed, be sure you take them exactly as directed by your doctor. Antibiotics should be taken for the entire duration of the prescription, even if the symptoms disappear completely before the prescription is gone. If antibiotics used to treat tonsillitis are not taken as directed, bacteria can become resistant to them (antibiotic resistance). In these cases, antibiotic treatment of future infections may not work.


Surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is still a common procedure, particularly for children. But it is not done nearly as often as it was in the past. Tonsillectomy may be considered to treat tonsillitis when a child has serious complications, recurrent infections, or chronic infections that do not respond to treatment and interfere with daily functioning. But the risks and benefits of surgery need to be weighed carefully. Tonsillectomy should only be done after you and your doctor carefully consider your or your child’s overall health.


A wide variety of viruses and bacteria can cause tonsillitis, so the best prevention is to follow basic health and hygiene precautions. These steps are especially helpful for children:

  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick. If possible, keep your child away from children who are known to have tonsillitis or a sore throat.
  • Often remind your child about the importance of proper hand-washing, especially when around people who appear to be sick. Also tell your child not to share toothbrushes or eating utensils with other children.
  • Wash and disinfect surfaces and toys.
  • Teach children to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, preferably using a tissue so that germs do not get on their hands. Also show them how to use tissues to wipe their noses.
  • Carry disposable wipes and a hand sanitizer to clean hands and to wipe off shopping carts or other shared items in public places.
  • Do not smoke around your child.

Home Treatment

The goal of home treatment of tonsillitis caused by a virus is to manage symptoms as the body fights off the infection. Home treatment eases the discomfort of sore throat and symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing.

Things that may help you or your child feel better include:

  • Gargling often with warm salt water if your child is age 8 or older. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) salt with 8 fl oz (240 mL) warm water.
  • Drinking warm or cool liquids (whichever feels better). These include tea, soup, juice, and rehydration drinks.
  • Eating flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles.
  • Getting plenty of rest.
  • Using a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom.
  • Using throat lozenges to help relieve sore throat symptoms. But lozenges should not be given to young children because of the risk of choking. Also, many lozenges contain unneeded ingredients that can be potentially harmful.

Ask your doctor if you can take over-the-counter pain medicines (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) to help relieve sore throat pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor’s advice about what amount to give. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of its link to Reye syndrome, a serious but rare problem.

Cough and cold medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use these medicines, check the label. Many over-the-counter remedies, including antiseptic mouthwashes, decongestants, and antihistamines, contain extra ingredients that don’t relieve discomfort. These remedies are not recommended for children, as these ingredients have not been proved to have any benefits in the treatment of acute tonsillitis. footnote 2

A sore throat along with sudden fever and swollen lymph nodes, and without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, may point to a bacterial infection. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor to be tested for strep throat, which requires treatment with antibiotics. It is important to get plenty of rest and take all the prescribed antibiotics exactly as directed. Keep your child home from school for the first 1 to 2 days of antibiotic treatment. He or she is still contagious during this time and might pass the infection to others.


Tonsillitis is usually caused by a virus and does not require prescription medicine. For information on over-the-counter pain medicine and other self-care options, see Home Treatment.

An antibiotic, usually amoxicillin or penicillin, is used to treat tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria. Although tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria usually will go away on its own, antibiotics are used to prevent the complications, such as rheumatic fever, that can result from untreated strep throat.

What to think about

If antibiotics are prescribed, be sure you take them exactly as directed by your doctor until the medicine is gone. Even if the symptoms go away completely before the prescription is gone, all pills should be taken as directed to make sure the infection is completely destroyed. Bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat tonsillitis (antibiotic resistance) if prescriptions aren’t taken as directed or if they are prescribed when they aren’t needed.


Tonsillectomy for tonsillitis is generally used for children who have serious complications or recurrent infections that do not respond to other treatment, especially when they interfere with daily life. But tonsillectomy should only be done after you and your doctor carefully consider your child’s medical history and overall health.

Researchers in a recent study concluded that tonsillectomy may be no better than watchful waiting for children who have mild symptoms, which was defined as tonsillitis occurring fewer than 3 times a year. footnote 3

But for some children, tonsillectomy can greatly improve their quality of life. Children who are most likely to benefit from tonsillectomy are those who have:

  • 7 or more episodes of tonsillitis in 1 year, or 5 or more episodes a year for the past 2 years, or 3 or more episodes a year for the past 3 years. Tonsillectomy is more likely to be considered as treatment when some of these episodes result in missing school, trouble sleeping, or having other problems with normal daily life.footnote 3
  • Tonsillitis lasting longer than 3 months, despite medicine.
  • Obstructed air passages.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Difficulty talking because of nasal obstruction.
  • Tonsils that bleed heavily.

Surgery choices

Tonsillectomy for strep throat
may be done in cases of recurring tonsillitis that do not respond to antibiotics or if an infection threatens the child’s well-being.

What to think about

Tonsillectomy is still the most common major surgical procedure done on children in the United States. But it is not done as often as it was in the past.

Upper respiratory infections
and tonsillitis usually occur less frequently as a child gets older. Consider whether your child’s tonsillitis infections are manageable until you can wait to see if he or she outgrows them.

A child who has tonsillectomy will need special care and close monitoring for at least a week after the surgery. Consider your ability to provide this care for your child before deciding on tonsillectomy.



  1. Cherry JD (2009). Pharyngitis (pharyngitis, tonsillitis, tonsillopharyngitis, and nasopharyngitis). In RD Feigin et al., eds., Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed. , vol. 2, pp. 160–169. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  2. Cherry JD (2009). Pharyngitis (pharyngitis, tonsillitis, tonsillopharyngitis, and nasopharyngitis). In RD Feigin et al., eds., Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 2, pp. 160–169. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  3. Baugh RF, et al. (2011). Clinical practice guideline: Tonsillectomy in children. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 144(IS): S1–S30.

Other Works Consulted

  • Georgalas CC, et al. (2014). Tonsillitis. BMJ Clinical Evidence. http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/x/systematic-review/0503/overview.html. Accessed April 14, 2016.
  • Isaacson G (2012). Tonsillectomy care for the pediatrician. Pediatrics, 130(2): 324–334.
  • Simon HB (2006). Bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 7, chap. 19. New York: WebMD.
  • Suurna MV (2012). Management of adenotonsillar disease. In AK Lalwani, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 3rd ed., pp. 362–368. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Wetmore RF (2011). Tonsils and adenoids. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 1442–1445. Philadelphia: Saunders.


Current as of:
December 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine
John Pope MD – Pediatrics
E. Gregory Thompson MD – Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine
Charles M. Myer III MD – Otolaryngology

The Difference between a Sore Throat, Strep & Tonsillitis

​The terms sore throat, strep throat, and tonsillitis often are used interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing.

  • Tonsillitis refers to tonsils that are inflamed.
  • Strep throat is an infection caused by a specific type of bacteria, Streptococcus. When your child has a strep throat, the tonsils are usually very inflamed, and the inflammation may affect the surrounding part of the throat as well.
  • Other causes of sore throats are viruses and may only cause inflammation of the throat around the tonsils and not the tonsils themselves.

Sore Throat

In infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, the most frequent cause of sore throats is a viral infection. No specific medicine is required when a virus is responsible, and the child should get better over a seven to ten day period. Often children who have sore throats due to viruses also have a cold at the same time. They may develop a mild fever, too, but they generally aren’t very sick.

One particular virus (called Coxsackie), seen most often during the summer and fall, may cause the child to have a somewhat higher fever, more difficulty swallowing, and a sicker overall feeling. If your child has a Coxsackie infection, she also may have one or more blisters in her throat and on her hands and feet (often called Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease). Infectious mononucleosis (often called “Mono”) can produce a sore throat, often with marked tonsillitis; however, most young children who are infected with the mononucleosis virus have few or no symptoms.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes. To some extent, the symptoms of strep throat depend on the child’s age.

  • Infants: May have only a low fever and a thickened or bloody nasal discharge.
  • Toddlers: May also have a thickened or bloody nasal discharge with a fever. Such children are usually quite cranky, have no appetite, and often have swollen glands in the neck. Sometimes toddlers will complain of tummy pain instead of a sore throat.
  • Children over age three: They are often more ill and may have an extremely painful throat, fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38. 9 degrees Celsius), swollen glands in the neck, and pus on the tonsils.

It’s important to be able to distinguish a strep throat from a viral sore throat, because strep infections are treated with antibiotics.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If your child has a sore throat that persists (not one that goes away after her first drink in the morning), whether or not it is accompanied by fever, headache, stomachache, or extreme fatigue, you should call your pediatrician. That call should be made even more urgently if your child seems extremely ill, or if she has difficulty breathing or extreme trouble swallowing (causing her to drool).

Throat culture

This may indicate a more serious infection. The doctor will examine your child and may perform a throat culture to determine the nature of the infection. To do this, he will touch the back of the throat and tonsils with a cotton-tipped applicator and then smear the tip onto a special culture dish that allows strep bacteria to grow if they are present. The culture dish usually is examined twenty-four hours later for the presence of the bacteria.

Rapid strep test

Most pediatric offices perform rapid strep tests that provide findings within minutes. If the rapid strep test is negative, your doctor may confirm the result with a culture. A negative test means that the infection is presumed to be due to a virus. In that case, antibiotics (which are antibacterial) will not help and need not be prescribed.


If the test shows that your child does have strep throat, your pediatrician will prescribe an antibiotic to be taken by mouth or by injection. If your child is given the oral medication, it’s very important that she take it for the full course, as prescribed, even if the symptoms get better or go away.

If a child’s strep throat is not treated with antibiotics, or if she doesn’t complete the treatment, the infection may worsen or spread to other parts of her body, leading to conditions such as abscesses of the tonsils or kidney problems. Untreated strep infections also can lead to rheumatic fever, a disease that affects the heart. However, rheumatic fever is rare in the United States and in children under five years old.


Most types of throat infections are contagious, being passed primarily through the air on droplets of moisture or on the hands of infected children or adults. For that reason, it makes sense to keep your child away from people who have symptoms of this condition. However, most people are contagious before their first symptoms appear, so often there’s really no practical way to prevent your child from contracting the disease.

In the past when a child had several sore throats, her tonsils might have been removed in an attempt to prevent further infections. But this operation, called a tonsillectomy, is recommended today only for the most severely affected children. Even in difficult cases, where there is repeated strep throat, antibiotic treatment is usually the best solution.

Additional Information:

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Tonsillitis – causes, symptoms, treatment


Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils caused by bacterial or viral infection. Typical symptoms are sore throat, swollen tonsils, difficulty swallowing, fever, and swollen glands in the neck. 

Tonsillitis occurs mainly in children, but rarely in children less than two years of age. Treatment will depend on whether the cause is bacterial or viral. Surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be recommended in some cases.


The tonsils are two small rounded masses of tissue that can be seen in the back of the throat. They are made of tissue similar to the lymph glands and are part of the immune system.

The tonsils are thought to help protect the body from infection during the first year of life but are not essential for immune function in later life. There is no evidence that tonsillectomy reduces a person’s immunity.

The majority of tonsillitis cases are caused by viruses, with only 15–30% of cases caused by bacteria.

Many different viruses can cause viral tonsillitis, including cold and flu viruses, glandular fever, measles virus and cytomegalovirus. Most cases of bacterial tonsillitis are associated with the bacteria that causes strep throat.

Tonsillitis is contagious if the cause is bacterial, and may be contagious if the cause is viral and a person hasn’t previously been exposed to that particular virus. In both cases, steps to prevent its spread should be taken.

Signs and symptoms

A sore throat is often the first sign of a cold and may get better after a day or two; other cold symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion may follow the sore throat. The primary symptom of tonsillitis is a moderate to severe sore throat lasting longer than 2 days and involves inflammation of the tonsils. Other symptoms of tonsillitis may include: 

  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Laryngitis
  • Swollen and tender glands (lymph nodes) on the sides of the neck
  • Bad breath
  • Fever and chills
  • Tiredness, headache, earache
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Enlarged and reddened tonsils with spots of white/yellow pus
  • Mouth breathing, noisy breathing, and/or snoring (due to enlarged tonsils blocking the airways).

Symptoms of tonsillitis usually resolve after three to four days but may last up to two weeks, even with treatment.


The bacteria that causes strep throat (and associated bacterial tonsillitis) can result in the serious complications of rheumatic fever (which can lead to damage to the heart) and kidney disease. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice and treatment if strep throat is suspected.

In some cases, tonsillitis can lead to a collection of pus next to one off the tonsils, called a peritonsillar abscess.  A peritonsillar abscess can cause pain, difficulty swallowing, and swelling in the throat that can make breathing difficult.  Get medical attention without delay at the first sign of breathing difficulties.

Tonsillitis can also cause blockage in the ear drum, leading to middle ear infections and/or glue ear. 


Diagnosis is based on symptoms and examination of the throat. In addition to directly inspecting your throat and tonsils, your GP may take a throat swab if strep throat is suspected. The throat swab is sent to a laboratory for culture and identification of the bacteria causing the symptoms.

Your GP may suspect glandular fever in a teenager or younger child with tonsillitis, particularly if accompanied by the additional symptoms of severe lethargy and tiredness, swollen glands in the neck, armpits, and/or groin, and an enlarged spleen.


Treatment of viral tonsillitis primarily involves rest, recovery and symptom relief. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids and have regular meals (soft foods and smoothies are best).

If bacterial infection is confirmed by throat culture, antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent complications, particularly rheumatic fever and kidney disease. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed to prevent the infection returning and to reduce the likelihood of developing rheumatic fever or kidney disease. Refer to our strep throat page for more information.

Antibiotics will not be prescribed for viral tonsillitis because antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Viral tonsillitis will usually get better without treatment. Pain relief and reduction of fever can be achieved with over-the-counter paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Gargling salt water (half teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water) may provide some symptom relief as may sucking on hard sweets or throat lozenges containing ingredients that are cooling, anaesthetic, anti-septic, or anti-inflammatory.

Corticosteroids medicines may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling, particularly when swallowing and breathing is difficult.


Improved care and the availability of effective antibiotics means that surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is less common today than it was previously. Tonsillectomy, however, may be recommended in people who have frequent episodes of tonsillitis, bacterial tonsillitis that does not respond to antibacterial medication, or are allergic to antibiotics.

Surgery does carry some risks, including bleeding during and after the operation in some people. Throat pain and difficulty eating is usual in the first few days after the operation. Full recovery typically takes two to three weeks.

Peritonsillar abscesses can be drained using a needle and syringe or by making an incision with a scalpel. Tonsillectomy is an option in those with a history of peritonsillar abscess.


Avoiding close contact with people who have tonsillitis is advisable to prevent passing on the infection. Children and other family members should be kept away from people with tonsillitis as much as possible. 

Hygiene measures should also be used to prevent spread of infection. These include:

  • Regular and thorough washing and drying of hands
  • Using a tissue or inside of the elbow to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequent and thorough washing and drying of hands
  • Not sharing foods, liquids, eating utensils, or drinking vessels
  • Frequent cleaning of surfaces particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.

Support and further information

Additional information about tonsillitis and rheumatic fever can be obtained from Healthline, which is a free 24-hour telephone advice service provided by the Ministry of Health. Healthline is staffed by registered nurses who can advise and recommend appropriate care for callers with symptoms.

Freephone: 0800 611 116
Website: www.healthline. govt.nz


NHS (2017). Tonsillitis (Web Page). Redditch: National Health Service (NHS) England. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tonsillitis/ [12/08/20]
O’Toole, M.T. (Ed.) (2017). Rheumatic Fever. Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions (10th ed.). St Louis, MI: Elsevier.
O’Toole, M.T. (Ed.) (2017). Tonsillitis (Web Page). Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions (10th ed.). St Louis, MI: Elsevier.
Shah, U.K. (2020). Tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscess (Web Page). Medscape: Drugs & Diseases. New York, NY: WebMD LLC. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/871977-overview [Accessed: 12/08/20]

Last reviewed: August 2020


90,000 tonsillitis: signs, symptoms, treatment – MedCom

Symptoms of tonsillitis

Depending on the form of the disease, the general symptoms of tonsillitis will differ. A person becomes infected by airborne droplets from an infected person. After the end of the incubation period, the first acute symptoms of tonsillitis are experienced within 1–2 days:

  • Sore throat that is worse when swallowing.
  • General weakness, aching muscles and joints.
  • Temperature rise.
  • Enlargement of the lymph nodes in the throat.
  • Chills.
  • Headaches.

The maximum degree of soreness in the throat most often develops on the second day of the disease. The tonsils acquire a bright red hue, become swollen, and small follicles with pus begin to form on them. If you ignore the symptoms at this point and do not start treatment, tonsillitis can become chronic.

It is much more difficult to diagnose chronic tonsillitis, since the general symptoms are often hidden.Suspicion of a chronic course of the disease should cause the following symptoms of tonsillitis:

  • Sore throat is not pronounced, may appear periodically when swallowing.
  • Sore throat, dry sensation.
  • Frequent episodes of angina.
  • Discharge of purulent plugs during coughing.

Such signs cannot be ignored. They are able to provoke the development of complications associated with kidney disease, joint damage and heart failure.

Diagnosis of the disease

The first stage of the diagnostic examination is the examination of the patient. The condition of the pharynx is assessed using special lighting, as a result of which the doctor notes an increase in lymph nodes, pronounced redness of the palatine tonsils, a yellowish purulent plaque and other symptoms characteristic of tonsillitis.

The next step, which is very important for the appointment of a competent treatment for tonsillitis, is the delivery of tests. To determine the causative agent of the disease, a smear is taken from the surface of the tonsils and the posterior wall of the nasopharynx.This analysis is transferred to the laboratory, where the material will be examined in the future. The presence of a certain group of microorganisms makes it possible to understand what exactly provoked the defeat of the tonsils and led to tonsillitis.

A blood test is also taken for examination. Indicators that confirm the presence of the disease will exceed the normal level:

  • The ESR indicator reaches 18–20 mm / h.
  • The number of immature neutrophils is increasing.
  • The level of neutrophils in the blood reaches 7-9×109 / l.
  • The presence of metamyelocytes and myelocytes is detected.

An antibiotic susceptibility test allows the doctor to choose the most effective treatment in the future. During treatment, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics, each of which is able to suppress the reproduction of a certain group of pathogenic microorganisms.

Treatment of tonsillitis

The form of tonsillitis and the current stage of the disease directly affect the tactics of treating tonsillitis.Treatment will be based on an integrated approach aimed at extinguishing acute symptoms of the disease and eliminating the previously identified pathogen:

  • Antiseptic solutions for rinsing the throat.
  • Pain relievers in the form of tablets, sprays or lozenges.
  • Solutions for washing tonsils. If purulent contents accumulate, plaque should be removed with a special syringe.
  • Use of local immunomodulators.
  • Taking antipyretics if necessary.
  • Antibiotics. During treatment, it is very important to follow the regimen and not stop taking medications, even if you feel better. It is possible to treat the disease and completely eliminate the bacteria only with the full passage of the course prescribed by the doctor. Full treatment is necessary not only to extinguish the symptoms, but also to suppress the pathogen.

Physiotherapy can help improve well-being and eliminate the characteristic signs of the disease.The procedures help to normalize blood circulation and stimulate the production of antibodies to tonsillitis. The patient is encouraged to treat the disease with UFO therapy or UHF. Your doctor may prescribe vacuum hydrotherapy to flush your tonsils.

During treatment, it is very important to provide the patient with gentle nutrition: boiled or steamed food will not additionally injure the throat. Drinking plenty of fluids will also help you recover from tonsillitis.

The decision to remove tonsils is made by the doctor after a complete diagnostic examination and the absence of a visible effect of treatment for tonsillitis, accompanied by the development of complications (toxic-allergic form).In this case, the tonsils are removed as the source of the main threat.

Preventive measures

Before carrying out preventive measures, it is necessary to identify the factors that provoke the onset of tonsillitis. The largest number of cases of the disease is observed in the autumn-winter periods. Living in unfavorable environmental conditions and frequent stay in crowded places also leads to an increased risk of disease.

Responsible personal health is recommended to reduce the likelihood of infection. During periods of outbreaks of tonsillitis, it is advisable to take vitamin complexes aimed at strengthening the body’s defenses. It is important to avoid hypothermia, which can cause sore throat and tonsillitis in particular.

When visiting public places, whenever possible, contact with people infected with tonsillitis should be minimized or a special mask should be worn. Daily walks in the fresh air and hardening will help improve immunity, and also allow the body to resist tonsillitis.

90,000 Tonsillitis: causes of inflammation, symptoms, treatment | Medicinal Directory | Health

Tonsillitis is an upper respiratory tract disease characterized by inflammation of the tonsils located in the pharynx (most commonly the palatine). Tonsillitis is acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis is known as angina.
The most significant bacterial causative agent of angina is hemolytic streptococcus of group A. Less often, acute tonsillitis is caused by viruses and other streptococci, extremely rarely – by mycoplasmas and chlamydia. The pathogen is transmitted by airborne droplets. Sources of infection are patients, and in some cases, carriers of the disease who do not have obvious symptoms.

Check yourself

The disease is characterized by an acute onset with an increase in temperature to 37.5–39 ° C, chills, headache, sore throat, aggravated by swallowing; pains in muscles and joints are not uncommon.

The most severe forms of angina are follicular, lacunar and phlegmonous . They proceed with a high temperature (up to 39 C °, sometimes higher), and the pain when swallowing is so strong that patients refuse even liquid food.

In the future, in the absence of complications, the main clinical manifestations of the disease quickly disappear, and the blood picture normalizes. The enlargement of the lymph nodes can persist for up to 10-12 days.

AiF recommends:

  • For angina, observe bed rest.
  • Gargle 4-6 times a day. You can use table salt (a teaspoon in a glass of warm water), baking soda (1-2 teaspoons per glass), decoctions of sage, chamomile, or ready-made solutions of antibacterial agents.
  • Drink plenty of liquids: warm tea, milk, jelly, non-acidic compotes from berries and dried fruits, juices … This relieves sore throat and helps to remove toxic substances from the body.
  • Inhalations from broths of sage and chamomile are useful. Various “sucking” tablets for sore throat are also suitable.
  • Never lubricate the tonsils with anything! You can injure tissue and spread the infection.
  • Streptococcal tonsillitis is fraught with the development of rheumatism.Such a sore throat requires mandatory antibiotic therapy.


Under the influence of various factors (antibiotic-resistant pathogen, weakened body, improper treatment), acute tonsillitis can turn into chronic, which is characterized by periodic exacerbations.

Chronic tonsillitis is a hotbed of infection that undermines the strength of the body

and can spread to other organs.


  • Treatment of chronic tonsillitis is conservative and surgical. The first includes:
  • washing tonsils,
  • antibiotic therapy, and if we are talking about fungal sore throat – treatment with antifungal drugs,
  • physiotherapy,
  • phonophoresis – a combination of ultrasound exposure and a drug substance.
  • Surgical treatment of tonsillitis, i.e. removal of tonsils, indicated:
  • If, despite active therapy, exacerbations recur.
  • When complications of tonsillitis begin to develop – rheumatic diseases, joints, kidney damage.
  • For paratonsillar abscesses, when inflammation passes from the tonsils to the surrounding tissues. This is an indication that requires urgent surgery, because pus can burst and descend into the mediastinum (the complex of organs between the lungs) and to the heart.

There are no relapses of tonsillitis after operations. But the absence of tonsils can lead to some decrease in immunity.

Remember, self-medication is life-threatening, consult your doctor for advice on the use of any medications.

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Acute pharyngitis: causes, symptoms, treatment, information

One of the most frequent reasons for visiting a therapist, pediatrician or ENT recently is infectious and inflammatory diseases of the pharynx 1 .And most often acute respiratory viral and bacterial infections are manifested by acute pharyngitis 2 . Acute pharyngitis is an inflammation of the back of the throat that causes a sore throat, sore throat and difficulty swallowing 3 .

Perspiration, dryness and painful sensations are provoked either by biological factors (viral, bacterial and fungal agents), or mechanical and thermal damage to the mucous membrane: thermal burns, exposure to acid, alkali, mechanical damage 4 .

The main clinical manifestations of inflammatory diseases of the pharynx – hyperemia of the posterior pharyngeal wall, sore throat, hoarseness, cough, fever – are caused by the development of inflammation as a universal response to the effects of infectious pathogens 4 .

Pharyngitis is usually caused by the same viruses that cause colds and flu. Less commonly, bacteria. It is rather difficult to determine what exactly caused the development of the disease, since the symptoms are similar 5 .

In a child, pharyngitis is often a manifestation of ARVI and proceeds in the form of nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nasal cavity and pharynx) 9.10 .

Clinical differences between viral and bacterial pharyngotonsillitis 6 .











Mild fever, mild dysphagia (pain on swallowing)

High temperature, severe dysphagia

Possible symptoms

Cough, conjunctivitis, rhinitis, myalgia, diarrhea

Headache, nausea, vomiting, rash


Redness of the mucous membranes of the pharynx, may be mucous discharge

Bright redness,

swelling, more often mucous –

purulent discharge

Lymph nodes

Multiple and small

Soft. Increase in size

In children, acute pharyngitis sometimes provokes the appearance of wheezing. This requires differential diagnosis with bronchial asthma 11 .

Causes of acute pharyngitis

Pharyngitis often occurs in the following diseases 3 :

  • influenza;
  • adenovirus infection;
  • measles;
  • mononucleosis;
  • cereals;
  • herpes simplex virus infection;
  • chickenpox;
  • enterovirus infection.

The viruses that cause these diseases are contagious and usually spread by airborne droplets: together with secretions from the nose and mouth 3 .

Pharyngitis – diagnosis

A physician’s physical examination of the patient helps to make a diagnosis. It includes 3 :

  • Examination of the throat, ears and nasal passages.
  • Assessment of involvement in the inflammatory process of the tonsils.
  • Assessment of breathing in the bronchi and lungs using a stethoscope.

If bacterial pharyngitis is suspected, your doctor may also take a throat swab.

Complications after acute pharyngitis

In most cases, with proper treatment, pharyngitis goes away without complications. However, if you do not start treatment on time, complications may develop in some cases. Pharyngitis can also signal other diseases 7 .

Purulent complications arise from damage to structures adjacent to the focus of infection or from the spread of infection through the vascular tract.These include peritonsillar abscess and phlegmon, retropharyngeal abscess, acute otitis media, sinusitis, mastoiditis, and cervical lymph node inflammation. Other rare and dangerous bacterial complications are much less common 6 .

Prevention of acute pharyngitis

Yes, pharyngitis is contagious. But trying to minimize the risk of infection is quite realistic 3 :

  • Avoid the use of shared utensils.
  • Do not drink from one glass if the other person is not feeling well.
  • Keep distance from the patient.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day – before eating, and if you cough or sneeze.
  • It is advisable to use a mask when caring for and communicating with a sick person and regularly carry out wet cleaning of the room where the patient is.

How to deal with acute pharyngitis

If you feel unwell and have the symptoms mentioned above, and you suspect you have strep throat, you can do the following to relieve your condition:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, which can worsen the disease.
  • If you have an infant and young child, improve the health of relatives and limit the baby’s communication with strangers.
  • Lozenges Strepsils ® with Menthol and Eucalyptus or Strepsils ® with Vitamin C can help relieve sore throat. They fight a wide range of bacteria as possible causes of infection 7. 8 .

Lozenges Strepsils ® with Menthol and Eucalyptus help not only get rid of sore throat, but also help to relieve nasal congestion thanks to menthol and eucalyptus essential oils 7 .

A ascorbic acid in the composition of Strepsils ® lozenges with vitamin C replenishes the need for vitamin C 8 .

Remember that the best therapy is a healthy lifestyle and giving up bad habits.

90,000 What is Glomerulonephritis?

What is it?
The human kidney is the blood filtering organ of our body. Substances and fluids harmful to us from the blood through a special capillary system, which is called the renal glomerulus (glomerulus), enter the renal capsule, and only then into the urinary tract, where they are collected and excreted in the form of urine.

As a result of various reasons (hereditary factors, long-term infectious diseases, environmental factors, industrial hazards, prolonged use of toxic medications, etc. ), disorders in the body’s immune system can occur, which can lead to aggression of immune cells against our own cells in the walls of the kidneys glomeruli. As a result, inflammation of the immune nature develops in the kidneys, affecting the renal glomeruli. This disease is called glomerulonephritis (from the Greek.nephros – kidney, Glomerulus – glomerulus).

Why does this happen?

Glomerulonephritis can be acute or chronic. Acute glomerulonephritis is an acute and reversible disease that can develop within a short time after a previous infection, usually streptococcal (tonsillitis, tonsillitis, scarlet fever, now rare) or other infections – bacterial, viral, parasitic (influenza, pneumonia, viral hepatitis, toxoplasmosis ), as well as the development of acute nephritis as a result of the administration of serum, vaccine or medicine.Chronic glomerulonephritis can last for years, with periods of exacerbation and remission, and always requires specialized treatment, often leading to the development of chronic renal failure.

What happens when this happens?

The clinic of acute glomerulonephritis develops some time later (from several hours to 7-14 days) after an infectious disease. Typical for her:
• For the first time, an increase or a sharp increase in blood pressure
• The appearance and growth of leg edema
• Decreased volume and / or discoloration of urine to dark red (the color of “meat slops”), i.e. the manifestation of an impurity of blood in the urine.
Similar symptoms can occur in chronic glomerulonephritis

How is the diagnosis made?

At the first signs of the disease, you should consult a nephrologist. To accurately determine the disease, it is necessary to pass blood and urine tests, often the decisive method for diagnosing glomerulonephritis is a kidney biopsy.

How to treat?

Treatment of glomerulonephritis is multicomponent and, as a rule, long-term. Acute glomerulonephritis is a reversible condition resulting in complete recovery. Chronic glomerulonephritis requires specialized treatment aimed at suppressing immune aggression, stopping or slowing down the progression of the pathological process. In therapy, immunosuppressive drugs (hormones and cytostatics) are used, antihypertensive therapy, anticoagulants are prescribed. The most correct approach is to prescribe therapy after obtaining a morphological picture of glomerulonephritis (i.e., based on the results of a kidney biopsy).As a rule, treatment is long-term, it requires adherence to a diet, constant intake of medications, as well as monitoring of blood and urine tests.

How to prevent?

• If a person is sick with chronic glomerulonephritis, then he is prohibited from heavy physical activity, work with toxic and other harmful substances, as well as the use of toxic substances and drugs (some antibiotics, analgesics, etc.). In addition, dietary adherence is recommended:
• restriction of fluid, the volume of fluid drunk per day should be equal to the volume of urine excreted for the previous day, plus another 200 – 300 ml.
• Limiting table salt as salt retains water in the body. You can add salt to ready-made food at the rate of 3-5 grams (1 teaspoon) of salt per day.
• Better to cook boiled and steamed dishes. Dairy products, cereals, vegetables, fruits are recommended. Broths, canned food, smoked meats, etc. are not recommended. It is important to follow the prescribed diet. Violation of it can lead not only to an exacerbation of the disease, but also cause life-threatening complications! A particularly strict diet should be followed when renal failure develops.
• A huge role is played by strict control over the level of blood pressure, target blood pressure in patients with glomerulonephritis and / or renal failure should not be higher than 140/90 mm Hg.

To prevent glorumelonephritis, it is necessary to promptly treat any inflammatory diseases, especially in the oral cavity, tonsils and respiratory organs. And also contact a specialist in a timely manner in case of deterioration of health!

90,000 Tonsillitis, tonsillitis is transmitted by kissing chronic tonsillitis is contagious or not

Tonsillitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of one or more lymphoid formations of the pharyngeal ring (usually palatine tonsils) and is one of the widespread infections of the upper respiratory tract.

Tonsillitis is acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis is known as sore throat.

The most significant bacterial causative agent of acute tonsillitis is group A hemolytic streptococcus. Less often, acute tonsillitis is caused by viruses and other streptococci, extremely rarely – by mycoplasma and chlamydia.

The pathogen is transmitted by airborne droplets. Sources of infection are sick and, less commonly, asymptomatic carriers. The highest incidence is observed in the winter-spring period.

The incubation period for acute tonsillitis is from several hours to 2-4 days. This disease is characterized by an acute onset with a rise in temperature to 37.5–39 ° C, chills or chills, headache, general malaise, sore throat, aggravated by swallowing; pains in muscles and joints are not uncommon. Children may have nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The duration of the disease period (without treatment) is approximately 5-7 days. In the future, in the absence of complications, the main clinical manifestations of the disease (fever, symptoms of intoxication, inflammatory changes in the tonsils) quickly disappear, and the blood picture normalizes. The enlargement of the lymph nodes can persist for up to 10-12 days.

Under the influence of various factors (weak organism, strong pathogen, improper treatment, lack of treatment, chronic diseases), acute tonsillitis can become chronic. Chronic tonsillitis is characterized by periodic exacerbations (after hypothermia, emotional stress, and other factors). Chronic tonsillitis is a hotbed of infection in the body. This focus undermines the strength of the body and can contribute to the spread of infection to other organs (most often the heart and kidneys are affected, i.e.because streptococcus has an affinity for the tissues of the kidneys and heart).

Tonsillitis treatment

Conservative (restoration of tonsil health)
– washing of the tonsils (to remove purulent plugs) and lubrication with Lugol’s solution,
– antibiotics,
– physiotherapy (tubos, UHF),
– phonophoresis (a combination of low-frequency ultrasound exposure and a drug),

Operational (if conservative treatment of tonsillitis does not work)
1. Tonsillotomy (routine removal or cutting of tonsils in children)
2. Operation using the cryo method (destruction of damaged tissue by cold)
Operation time – no more than 15 minutes (tonsillotomy)
Hospital stay – 1-3 days
Pain relief – mandatory for tonsillotomy

Relapses and complications
After the operations, there are no relapses, since there are no tonsils themselves. But the absence of tonsils leads to a decrease in the body’s immune properties.

Tonsillitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment | bag of knowledge

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, organs located in the lower part of the throat that protect the respiratory system from attack by bacteria, viruses and dangerous microorganisms.

Tonsillitis: Causes

Since the tonsils often come into contact with viruses and bacteria, it is quite easy for them to become inflamed and attacked by these microbacteria. Therefore, tonsillitis is usually of viral or bacterial origin.

Incubation period and duration of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is contagious. If tonsillitis is of bacterial origin, infection can occur only with close contact and only in the early stages of the development of the disease.

However, when caused by a virus, tonsillitis is much more contagious and is easily transmitted in closed and crowded places. The period in which it is easier to get sick with tonsillitis is during the winter months.

Tonsillitis is common in children under the age of 10-12, especially because closed and crowded places (schools, gyms and swimming pools) that they regularly visit are the most favorable places for contracting diseases such as tonsillitis.In addition, their antibodies are not yet fully developed and therefore the risk is increasing. Children can also have tonsillitis 4-5 times a year.

Tonsillitis: symptoms

Tonsillitis is mainly accompanied by sore throat, low voice, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Often accompanied by fever, weakness, heaviness, and general malaise. Tonsils, covered with whitish plaques, reddened and sometimes swollen. If the tonsillitis is chronic, the symptoms are the same, but usually in a more suppressed form.

Streptococcal bacterial tonsillitis is suspected in case of sudden onset of symptoms.

Read also: Sore throat when swallowing: possible causes


Antibiotic therapy is usually indicated in cases of bacterial infection, with the viral form, only medications are used to relieve symptoms (anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic), which are also indicated for treatment symptoms of bacterial tonsillitis.

The remainder of the therapy focuses on methods to relieve discomfort and symptoms. To do this, it is helpful to stay at rest in cool and often ventilated areas, drink lots of liquids and pastes (milk and honey) to reduce the burning sensation or heat, and rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash or saline solution.

If tonsillitis is chronic and may become recurrent, removal of the tonsils may be required.

Articles are informative in nature and do not cancel the consultation of a specialist!

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Is tonsillitis contagious for the environment (chronic and acute)

Is tonsillitis contagious? People who have at least once encountered a similar disease often ask this question.The disease belongs to the group of infectious.

The process of development of tonsillitis is based on the penetration of pathogenic microbes into the oral cavity and damage to the tonsils, therefore it is important to know how the transmission of infection occurs between people, and what needs to be done to prevent infection.

Types and main causes of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is an infectious disease in which the mucous epithelium of the palatine tonsils is damaged, accompanied by an increase in body temperature, sometimes coughing and the formation of purulent films and plugs on the mouth glands.

The main cause of the onset of the disease is the penetration of pathogenic microbes into the oral cavity. But, often, these bacteria are in the human body for a long time and without causing discomfort. Under certain factors, their activation and reproduction occurs, a period of acute development of the disease begins.

Tonsillitis factors:

  • Weakening of general immunity.
  • Wrong and unbalanced nutrition.
  • Hypothermia of the body.
  • Close contact with a person who has a sore throat.
  • The use of common utensils and household items with a person infected with sore throat.
  • Presence of bad habits.
  • Interaction with harmful chemicals.

Tonsillitis is usually divided into groups depending on the form, location, pathogen and nature of the flow.

Classification by flow principle:

  1. Acute tonsillitis – an ailment characterized by the rapid onset of acute symptoms – an increase in body temperature up to 39 degrees, severe pain in the throat, the appearance of purulent formations on the mucous membranes of the palatine tonsils.
  2. Chronic tonsillitis – develops against the background of provoking factors. The inflammatory process is replaced by long-term remission. Symptoms are not always pronounced, as a result of which complications may arise in the work of many organs and body systems.

Place of origin:

  1. Lacunar – an inflammatory process that occurs in the tortuous canals of the tonsils.
  2. Lacunar – parenchymal – simultaneous damage to lacunae and connective tissue of the oral cavity.
  3. Parenchymal – develops mainly in the tissues connecting the tonsils and the border of the oral cavity.
  4. Sclerotic – tonsillitis is accompanied by the proliferation of connective tissue of the oropharynx and tonsils.

By the nature of the defeat:

  • Catarrhal
  • Follicular
  • Lacunar
  • Necrotic

The most contagious is the disease in the lacunar stage. During this period, purulent vesicles form on the tonsils, which periodically open and pour out.

By type of pathogen:

  • Bacterial – caused by a group A streptococcus bacterium. Infection occurs by airborne droplets.
  • Fungal – caused by fungi of the genus Candida. Most often, infection occurs from mother to child during breastfeeding.
  • Viral – the cause is a recently transferred viral disease (ARVI, influenza, herpes) caused by adenovirus, rhinovirus, etc. The route of infection in acute course is airborne.
  • Specific – caused by bacteria typical of other diseases. In this case, pharyngitis will act as a concomitant disease.

Tonsillitis is highly infectious. It is especially dangerous when directly inhaled air with a high content of microbes.

The duration of treatment for angina is from 5 to 10 days. But this does not mean that further therapy can be canceled. The local and general strengthening effect continues. The disease is still contagious.

Potential for acute and chronic tonsillitis

Is tonsillitis contagious to others? The disease is characterized by purulent inflammation of the tonsils. They perform a protective function when breathing, and the infection gets there first.

The incubation period of the disease is 5 – 6 days. During it, the disease is considered non-infectious to others.

An increase in the concentration of staphylococcus becomes noticeable on the 6th – 7th day of the course, the disease becomes acute.

Acute tonsillitis is contagious to others, but with timely initiation of antibiotics, it becomes safe already on the 2nd day of therapy.

There are several ways of transmitting this disease from person to person.

Methods of infection:

  1. Airborne – infection occurs due to an increased concentration of pathogenic microbes released into the environment when sneezing or coughing.
  2. Contact – infection occurs as a result of the use of common utensils and personal items of the patient.The infection enters the mucous membranes of the oropharynx during the process of eating. Most often, it occurs as a result of close contact with a sick sore throat.
  3. Contact with inflamed tissue – infection occurs due to the penetration of the pathogen through open wounds, damaged membrane of the mucous membranes of the dermis as a result of contact with infected tissue.

You can also get infected when using common medical instruments, without performing a sterilization procedure. For the people around, tonsillitis is most dangerous during an exacerbation or if a person is infected with it for the first time.

Is chronic tonsillitis contagious? The disease in this form is safe for others. The chronic course of the disease is characterized by the constant presence of infection in the human body.

The nature of chronic tonsillitis:

  • Relapse of the disease at least 2-3 times a year.
  • Looseness of the tissues of the tonsils, the constant presence of purulent accumulations in their ducts.
  • Presence of bad breath.
  • Constant presence of slightly elevated body temperature.

Under certain favorable conditions, microbes begin to actively divide and cause acute symptoms. This occurs most often during the rainy season, when the air is moist and dense. Any contact with a sick person during this period can cause infection.

A non-contagious disease is considered only when the cause of its occurrence is an allergic reaction to something. A person suffering from this kind of tonsillitis is absolutely safe for others.

Ways to prevent disease

Tonsillitis is an unpleasant disease accompanied by pronounced symptoms.To prevent infection with an ailment, certain rules of behavior must be observed.


  1. Compliance with personal hygiene, especially with regard to the oral cavity.
  2. Timely treatment of inflammation of the gums and teeth to avoid the spread of infection.
  3. At the first manifestations of infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, perform washing and inhalation procedures.
  4. Timely visit to a doctor at the first signs of illness.
  5. Compliance with the rules for taking medications.
  6. Compliance with protective measures in contact with a person infected with angina.
  7. Quitting smoking and other bad habits.
  8. The use of prophylactic drugs during the off-season.

After a sore throat, the mucous membranes of the tonsils are very vulnerable, so it is important to wash and process them for some time to prevent recurrence of infection with the disease. It is worth remembering that self-medication is not the best way to get rid of tonsillitis.Any prescriptions and changes in the therapy of the disease should be carried out by the attending physician.


Not only recommendations in the treatment of tonsillitis are of great importance, but also the observance of certain preventive measures.


  • Correct nutrition, enriched with vitamins and minerals. Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • Body hardening, regular sports.
  • Walking in the fresh air, room ventilation.
  • Regular hygiene control in children after walking.

It is impossible to say for sure whether tonsillitis is contagious and whether it can be excluded by observing only preventive measures. In this case, the stage of the course of the disease is important. But in any case, after contact with a person – a carrier of the disease, it is necessary to promptly take measures to exclude the development of the disease.