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Tonsillitis – NHS

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils at the back of your throat. It is a common childhood illness, but teenagers and adults can get it too.

Check if you have tonsillitis

Tonsillitis can feel like a bad cold or flu. The tonsils at the back of your throat will be red and swollen.

The main symptoms in children and adults are:

  • a sore throat
  • problems swallowing
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • coughing
  • a headache
  • feeling sick
  • earache
  • feeling tired

Sometimes the symptoms can be more severe and include:

  • swollen, painful glands in your neck (feels like a lump on the side of your neck)
  • white pus-filled spots on your tonsils
  • bad breath

What tonsils with pus-filled spots can look like

Tonsils with pus-filled spots at the back of the throat.


If you’re not sure it’s tonsillitis

Look at other sore throat symptoms.

How long tonsillitis lasts

Symptoms will usually go away after 3 to 4 days.

Tonsillitis is not contagious, but most of the infections that cause it are, for example, colds and flu.

To stop these infections spreading:

  • stay off work or keep your child at home until you or your child feel better
  • use tissues when you cough or sneeze and throw them away
  • wash your hands after coughing or sneezing

How to treat tonsillitis yourself

Tonsillitis usually gets better on its own after a few days.

To help treat the symptoms:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink cool drinks to soothe the throat
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen (do not give aspirin to children under 16)
  • gargle with warm salty water (children should not try this)

How to gargle with salty water

  1. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and stir until it has dissolved.
  2. Gargle with the salty water (do not swallow it), then spit it out.
  3. Repeat as often as you like.

Young children should not gargle with salty water.

A pharmacist can help with tonsillitis

Speak to a pharmacist about tonsillitis.

They can give advice and suggest treatments, like:

  • lozenges
  • throat sprays
  • antiseptic solutions

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have white pus-filled spots on your tonsils
  • the sore throat is so painful it’s difficult to eat or drink
  • the symptoms do not go away within 4 days

What happens at your GP appointment

A doctor can usually tell it’s tonsillitis by asking about your symptoms and looking at the back of your throat.

You may also need:

  • a swab test to see if bacteria are causing your tonsillitis (a cotton bud is used to wipe the back of your throat)
  • a blood test for glandular fever if symptoms are severe or will not go away

You should get any test results back within 2 or 3 days.

Treatment from a GP

Treatment will depend on what caused your tonsillitis:

  • most children and adults get viral tonsillitis (caused by a virus), which clears up on its own
  • for bacterial tonsillitis (caused by bacteria), a GP may prescribe antibiotics

A GP will usually wait for the test results to tell which type you have.

Surgery to remove your tonsils

It’s very rare that someone needs to have their tonsils taken out.

This is usually only the case if you have severe tonsillitis that keeps coming back.

Causes of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is usually caused by a virus, such as a cold, but it can also be due to a bacterial infection such as strep throat.

Complications with tonsillitis (quinsy)

Complications with tonsillitis are very rare.

Sometimes you can get a pocket filled with pus (abscess) between your tonsils and the wall of your throat. This is called quinsy.

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if you have:

  • a severe sore throat that quickly gets worse
  • swelling inside the mouth and throat
  • difficulty speaking
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty opening your mouth

These are signs of quinsy.

Page last reviewed: 10 February 2021
Next review due: 10 February 2024

Tonsillitis | Tonsillitis Symptoms | Tonsillitis Treatment

What are tonsils?

Tonsils are lumps of tissue at the back of the throat. There are two of them, one on each side. Along with the adenoids, tonsils are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system clears away infection and keeps body fluids in balance. Tonsils and adenoids work by trapping the germs coming in through the mouth and nose.

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the tonsils. Sometimes along with tonsillitis, the adenoids are also swollen.

What causes tonsillitis?

The cause of tonsillitis is usually a viral infection. Bacterial infections such as strep throat can also cause tonsillitis.

Who is at risk for tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is most common in children over age two. Almost every child in the United States gets it at least once. Tonsillitis caused by bacteria is more common in kids ages 5-15. Tonsillitis caused by a virus is more common in younger children.

Adults can get tonsillitis, but it is not very common.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Although tonsillitis is not contagious, the viruses and bacteria that cause it are contagious. Frequent handwashing can help prevent spreading or catching the infections.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

The symptoms of tonsillitis include

  • A sore throat, which may be severe
  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A white or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Fever
  • Bad breath

When does my child need to see a health care provider for tonsillitis?

You should call your health care provider if your child

  • Has a sore throat for more than two days
  • Has trouble or pain when swallowing
  • Feels very sick or very weak

You should get emergency care right away if your child

  • Has trouble breathing
  • Starts drooling
  • Has a lot of trouble swallowing

How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

To diagnose tonsillitis, your child’s health care provider will first ask you about your child’s symptoms and medical history. The provider will look at your child’s throat and neck, checking for things such as redness or white spots on the tonsils and swollen lymph nodes.

Your child will probably also have one or more tests to check for strep throat, since it can cause tonsillitis and it requires treatment. It could be a rapid strep test, a throat culture, or both. For both tests, the provider uses a cotton swab to collect a sample of fluids from your child’s tonsils and the back of the throat. With the rapid strep test, testing is done in the office, and you get the results within minutes. The throat culture is done in a lab, and it usually takes a few days to get the results. The throat culture is a more reliable test. So sometimes if the rapid strep test is negative (meaning that it does not show any strep bacteria), the provider will also do a throat culture just to make sure that your child does not have strep.

What are the treatments for tonsillitis?

Treatment for tonsillitis depends on the cause. If the cause is a virus, there is no medicine to treat it. If the cause is a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, your child will need to take antibiotics. It is important for your child to finish the antibiotics even if he or she feels better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect your child.

No matter what is causing the tonsillitis, there are some things you can do to help your child feel better. Make sure that your child

  • Gets a lot of rest
  • Drinks plenty of fluids
  • Tries eating soft foods if it hurts to swallow
  • Tries eating warm liquids or cold foods like popsicles to soothe the throat
  • Isn’t around cigarette smoke or do anything else that could irritate the throat
  • Sleeps in a room with a humidifier
  • Gargles with saltwater
  • Sucks on a lozenge (but do not give them to children under four; they can choke on them)
  • Takes an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen. Children and teenagers should not take aspirin.

In some cases, your child may need a tonsillectomy.

What is a tonsillectomy and why might my child need one?

A tonsillectomy is surgery to remove the tonsils. Your child might need it if he or she

  • Keeps getting tonsillitis
  • Has bacterial tonsillitis that does not get better with antibiotics
  • Has tonsils are too big, and are causing trouble breathing or swallowing

Your child usually gets the surgery and goes home later that day. Very young children and people who have complications may need to stay in the hospital overnight. It can take a week or two before your child completely recovers from the surgery.

Tonsilitis – Illnesses & conditions

There’s no specific treatment for tonsillitis and most cases get better within a week without treatment.

While waiting for the infection to clear up, there are a number of things you can do to help relieve your symptoms (see below).

If your child has tonsillitis, make sure they have plenty to eat and drink, even if they find it painful to swallow. Being hungry and dehydrated can make other symptoms, such as headaches and tiredness, worse.


Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, can help relieve painful symptoms such as a sore throat.

If treating your children with painkillers, it’s important to use the correct type and dosage. Younger children only need small dosages. Your pharmacist can advise you about this.

Children under 16 years of age shouldn’t be given aspirin.

Over-the-counter treatments that can soothe a sore throat, such as lozenges and oral sprays, are also available. Some people find that gargling with a mild antiseptic solution can also relieve a sore throat.

Alternatively, you could try gargling with warm, salty water. Mix half a teaspoon of salt (2.5g) with a quarter of a litre (eight ounces) of water. It’s important not to swallow the water, so this method may not be suitable for younger children.


Antibiotics may not be prescribed, even if tests confirm your tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection. The two main reasons for this are:

  • in most cases, antibiotics won’t speed up the recovery, but they can cause unpleasant side effects, such as stomach pain and feeling sick
  • the more an antibiotic is used to treat a non-serious infection, the greater the chance it won’t be effective in treating more serious infections; this is known as antibiotic resistance

However, exceptions are usually made if:

  • symptoms are severe
  • symptoms show no sign of easing
  • you or your child has a weakened immune system

In these circumstances, a 10-day course of penicillin is usually recommended. If you or your child is known to be allergic to penicillin, an alternative antibiotic, such as erythromycin, can be used.

Hospital treatment may be required for particularly severe or persistent cases of bacterial tonsillitis that don’t respond to oral antibiotics. In these cases, intravenous antibiotics (given directly into a vein) may be needed.

Antibiotics sometimes cause mild side effects, such as an upset stomach, diarrhoea or a rash.


Surgery to remove the tonsils is known as a tonsillectomy.

For children with mild sore throats, watchful waiting is recommended rather than a tonsillectomy.

A tonsillectomy is only considered for a recurrent sore throat if certain criteria are met. You must have:

  • a sore throat caused by tonsillitis
  • episodes of sore throat that are disabling and stop you functioning normally
  • seven or more well-documented, clinically significant, adequately treated sore throats in the preceding year or
  • five or more such episodes in each of the preceding two years or
  • three or more such episodes in each of the preceding three years

Tonsillectomies are carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be asleep during the procedure. Your mouth will be held open to allow the surgeon to see your tonsils and no cuts will be made in your skin.

The operation can be carried out in a number of ways, as described below.

  • Cold steel surgery – this is the most common method, where a surgical blade is used to cut the tonsils out. Bleeding is controlled by applying pressure or the blood vessels may be sealed using heat generated by diathermy.
  • Diathermy – a diathermy probe is used to destroy the tissue around the tonsils and to remove the tonsils. At the same time, the heat seals the blood vessels to stop any bleeding.
  • Coblation (or cold ablation) – this method works in a similar way to diathermy, but uses a lower temperature (60C). It’s considered less painful than diathermy.
  • Lasers – high-energy laser beams are used to cut away the tonsils and seal the underlying blood vessels shut.
  • Ultrasound – high-energy ultrasound waves are used in a similar way to lasers.

Each of these techniques is relatively similar in terms of safety, results and recovery, so the type of surgery used will depend on the expertise and training of the surgeon.

You’ll usually be able to leave hospital on the same day as you have surgery, or the day after.

After surgery

After surgery, it’s likely you’ll experience some pain at the site of the operation. This can last for up to a week. Painkillers can help to relieve the pain.

Children who have had a tonsillectomy should be kept off school for two weeks. This is to reduce their risk of picking up an infection from another child that will make them feel more uncomfortable.

Swallowing will probably be difficult after having a tonsillectomy. However, it’s important to eat solid foods, because it will help your throat to heal more quickly. Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid acidic drinks, such as orange juice, because they’ll sting.

Ensuring good oral hygiene by regularly brushing your teeth and using mouthwash can help prevent infection in the mouth.

The pain usually gets worse during the first week after having a tonsillectomy, before gradually improving during the second week. Earache is common with tonsillectomies, but isn’t a cause for concern.

Post-operative bleeding

Bleeding at the site where the tonsils were removed is a fairly common complication of a tonsillectomy. This can occur during the first 24 hours following surgery or up to 10 days afterwards.

It’s estimated that around 1 in 100 children and 1 in 30 adults will experience post-operative bleeding after having a tonsillectomy.

Minor bleeding isn’t usually a cause for concern, because in most cases it resolves by itself. Gargling with cold water can often help stem the bleeding, because the cold helps to contract the blood vessels.

Occasionally, the bleeding can be more severe, causing people to cough up blood. Seek immediate medical advice if this happens. You should be given an emergency contact number before you’re discharged from hospital. Alternatively, you can call NHS 24’s ‘111’ service.

Extensive bleeding may need to be treated with surgery or a blood transfusion.

Tonsillitis (for Teens) – Nemours Kidshealth

What Is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis (pronounced: tahn-suh-LYE-tus) is an infection of the tonsils caused by viruses or some types of bacteria.

Tonsils are lumps of tissue on both sides of the back of the throat that help the immune system protect the body from infections. But sometimes infections are too much for the tonsils to handle, and these fighters of infection become infected themselves.

Infected tonsils get swollen and red, and have a yellow or white coating. A person with tonsillitis may have a sore throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck, and trouble swallowing.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Tonsillitis?

Inflamed tonsils look red and swollen, and may be covered with a yellow or whitish coating or spots. Someone with tonsillitis may have:

  • a sore throat, which can be mild to severe
  • white spots or pus on the tonsils
  • swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
  • voice changes
  • a fever
  • painful swallowing
  • stomachache
  • headache

If you have symptoms of tonsillitis, call your doctor.

What Causes Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is usually caused by a

virussuch as:

Bacteria also can cause it, most commonly group A streptococcus (strep throat). Rarely, tonsillitis can be caused by something other than an infection.

How Is Tonsillitis Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine your throat and neck. Your doctor may use a soft cotton swab to gently collect a sample from your tonsils and the back of your throat for testing.

It’s important for your doctor to know if

bacteriaare causing the infection. If you have strep throat, you’ll need treatment with 
antibioticsto kill the bacteria. This will help you feel better and prevent other problems that can come from untreated strep throat.

How Is Tonsillitis Treated?

If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Finish taking all the medicine even if your symptoms go away and you feel better, or the infection could come back.

If a strep test comes back negative, it’s probably a virus causing the tonsillitis and antibiotics won’t help. Just like with a cold (also caused by a virus), you’ll have to take it easy for several days and let the virus run its course.

Rarely, if someone gets tonsillitis a lot, the doctor or an otolaryngologist (pronounced: oh-toe-lar-un-GA-luh-jist, a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat problems) may recommend a tonsillectomy (pronounced: tahn-suh-LEK-tuh-mee). This is a surgery to remove the tonsils. Tonsillectomy used to be a common procedure, but now experts recommend watching and waiting because large tonsils often shrink on their own over time.

How Can I Feel Better?

Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve any pain or discomfort. (Don’t take aspirin or other products that contain aspirin, though, because these may put you at risk of developing Reye syndrome, an illness that can have serious complications.)

Avoid smoking or anything that will irritate your throat. It’s best to drink lots of liquids. You may prefer softer foods, like applesauce, flavored gelatin, or ice cream. If you don’t feel like eating, try drinking liquids that contain calories, such as fruit juices, milkshakes, and soups and broths.

If you’re on antibiotics, it’s usually OK to return to school 24 hours after you start taking them if your fever is gone and you feel better. If you’re still feeling weak, tired, or achy, it may be best to stay home for another day or two.

How Can I Prevent Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is contagious. This means you can get it from someone else who has it. Sneezing and coughing can pass the tonsillitis-causing virus or bacteria from one person to the next.

To protect yourself from catching tonsillitis or to prevent passing it to somebody else:

  • Wash your hands well and often.
  • If someone in your household or a friend has tonsillitis, don’t use that person’s cups, glasses, silverware, toothbrush, or other utensils. And if you have tonsillitis, keep your stuff separate and don’t share it with anyone.
  • Don’t kiss anyone until you’re completely over the tonsillitis.
  • Get a new toothbrush after you feel better and are no longer contagious.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call your doctor right away if your condition gets worse; for example, if you have a hard time breathing or swallowing. Also talk to your doctor if your fever comes back or if you’re not feeling better in a couple of days.

Tonsillitis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments


What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected and inflamed. Tonsils are the two small lumps of soft tissue — one on either side — at the back of the throat. You can see your tonsils in a mirror by opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue.

As part of your immune system, tonsils trap some of the germs that make you sick. When tonsils become infected, they get swollen and sore, and swallowing may hurt. Tonsillitis is also called tonsillopharyngitis, but most people call it a sore throat.

How common is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is very common. Most people have tonsillitis at least once in their lifetime.

Who is affected by tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is most common in children, but it can affect people of all ages. Tonsillitis rarely occurs in children under the age of 3.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Symptoms of tonsillitis usually come on suddenly. Common symptoms include:

  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Red, swollen tonsils and throat
  • Whitish spots on the tonsils, or a white, yellow or gray coating on the tonsils
  • Fever above 100.4 degrees
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands on the sides of your neck below your ears)
  • Stomachache or vomiting (more frequently in younger children)

What causes tonsillitis?

A virus or bacteria causes tonsillitis. The two types of tonsillitis are:

  • Viral tonsillitis: Most cases (up to 70 percent) of tonsillitis are caused by a virus such as cold or flu (influenza).
  • Bacterial tonsillitis (strep throat): Other cases of tonsillitis are caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. Bacterial tonsillitis is commonly called strep throat.

How do people get tonsillitis?

The viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis are highly contagious. They are passed along by:

  • Kissing or sharing utensils, food or drink
  • Coming into close contact with someone who is sick
  • Touching a contaminated surface and then touching your nose or mouth
  • Inhaling tiny particles that become airborne when a sick person sneezes or coughs

Diagnosis and Tests

How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

To diagnosis tonsillitis, your doctor will:

  • Examine your throat for redness, swelling or white spots on the tonsils
  • Ask about other symptoms you’ve had, such as a fever, cough, runny nose, rash or stomachache
  • Look in your ears and your nose for other signs of infection
  • Feel the sides of your neck to see if the lymph nodes are swollen and tender

After confirming a tonsillitis diagnosis, your doctor will need to determine whether the infection results from a virus or bacteria (strep throat).

How is strep throat diagnosed?

Your doctor may order a throat culture — also known as a strep test — to determine if you have strep throat. A throat culture is a simple test that checks for the presence of specific bacteria in your throat. During a throat culture:

  1. Your doctor will swipe the back of your throat with a long cotton swab to gather saliva and cells. The test may feel uncomfortable, but it is not painful.
  2. While you wait, your doctor will test the cells to check for bacteria. This test is called a “rapid strep test.” The results are ready in about 10-15 minutes.
  3. If the results are positive and the test does detect bacteria, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat you for strep throat.
  4. If the results are negative and the rapid strep test does not detect bacteria, your doctor may send the sample away to a lab for more thorough testing. This longer lab test usually takes 2-3 days to get results.
  5. If the lab test results come back negative, you’ll know the tonsillitis is viral, not bacterial.

How do I know if I have tonsillitis?

If you have a sore throat, swollen tonsils and pain with swallowing, you may have tonsillitis. You should visit your doctor to determine whether bacteria or a virus is causing the tonsillitis. The treatment varies based on the type of infection.

Management and Treatment

What are the treatments for tonsillitis?

The treatment you receive depends on the infection’s cause. While the symptoms of viral tonsillitis and bacterial tonsillitis can be similar, their treatments are different.

What is the treatment for strep throat?

Strep throat (tonsillitis caused by bacteria) is treated with an antibiotic medication. Antibiotics require a prescription from your doctor. You usually take antibiotics orally (by mouth) for about 10 days. The most common antibiotics for strep throat are:

  • Penicillin
  • Clindamycin
  • Cephalosporin

It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take the full course of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better after a couple of days. You must finish the antibiotics so the infection doesn’t come back, get worse, or spread to another part of your body.

What are the side effects of the treatment for strep throat?

Side effects from antibiotics used to treat bacterial tonsillitis (strep throat) include:

What is the treatment for viral tonsillitis?

The antibiotics used to treat strep throat (bacterial tonsillitis) will not work on tonsillitis caused by a viral infection. To relieve the symptoms of viral tonsillitis, your doctor will recommend:

  • Plenty of rest
  • Fluids to stay hydrated
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Throat lozenges

What are the complications associated with tonsillitis?

Complications from tonsillitis are usually associated with strep throat and the streptococcal bacteria. They include:

  • Chronic tonsillitis: People who have tonsillitis more than 7 times a year may have chronic tonsillitis. Doctors may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils, especially if you are snoring or having trouble sleeping at night. This surgery is called tonsillectomy.
  • Scarlet fever: Strep throat can progress into scarlet fever, causing a red rash and fever. Scarlet fever occurs more often in children than adults, but it is not common.
  • Peritonsillar abscess: In severe cases of tonsillitis, an abscess (a collection of pus) can form around the tonsil. Peritonsillar abscesses occur more often in adults and adolescents than in children. Doctors often recommend surgery to drain the abscess.
  • Rheumatic fever: Although rare, rheumatic fever can occur if strep throat is not treated or you don’t complete the full course of antibiotics. Rheumatic fever occurs in children more often than adults. It can lead to permanent heart damage.
  • Spread of infection: When left untreated, streptococcal bacteria can spread from the throat to the middle ear, sinuses, or other parts of the body. This infection can lead to complications such as sinusitis, glomerulonephritis, or necrotizing fasciitis.

What can I do to help relieve symptoms of tonsillitis?

To relieve the symptoms of viral and bacterial tonsillitis, you can:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Drink warm liquids, like tea, apple cider or broth.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Try throat lozenges.


How can you prevent tonsillitis?

To reduce your risk of developing tonsillitis, you should:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before touching your nose or mouth.
  • Avoid sharing food, drink, or utensils with someone who is sick.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly.

Outlook / Prognosis

What is the outlook for people who have tonsillitis?

Most cases of viral tonsillitis clear up in a few days with fluids and plenty of rest. Antibiotics usually eliminate bacterial tonsillitis (strep throat) in about 10 days. Tonsillitis usually doesn’t cause any serious or lasting health problems.

Living With

When should I call my doctor about tonsillitis?

You should contact your doctor if you have:

  • Sore throat for more than 2 days
  • Fever over 101 degrees
  • Trouble or pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tonsils that are swollen or painful

What are the main differences and treatments?

Compare the similarities and differences between tonsillitis and strep throat.

Tonsillitis vs. strep causes | Prevalence | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatments | Risk factors | Prevention | When to see a doctor | FAQs | Resources

Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils that causes a sore throat, painful swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes. It may be caused by a virus or bacteria and is spread easily from person to person. Strep throat produces similar symptoms to tonsillitis and is also contagious, but it is caused by a specific bacteria called group A Streptococcus. People with strep may also have flu-like symptoms including body aches and chills.



Tonsillitis may be viral or bacterial, although viral tonsillitis is the most common cause. The viruses that are responsible for the flu and common cold can lead to tonsillitis.

Bacterial tonsillitis is caused by the same bacteria that causes strep, Streptococcus pyogenes (group A strep). Other bacteria may cause tonsillitis, but group A strep is the most common.


Group A Streptococcus bacteria (group A strep) can also cause strep throat. These bacteria live in the nose and throat and spread through contaminated droplets.

When someone who has strep bacteria sneezes, the droplets spread into the air and on nearby surfaces. Coming into contact with these contaminated droplets increases the risk of developing strep throat.

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat causes



According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “tonsillitis is a common disease and makes up approximately 1.3% of outpatient visits”. Viral tonsillitis is more common in patients under the age of five. Bacterial tonsillitis is rare in children under the age of two.


According to the CDC, it’s estimated that “several million cases of non-invasive group A strep illness occur each year”. Group A streptococcus bacteria causes between 20% to 30% of sore throats in children and between 5% to 15% in adults. Children between ages 5 and 15 are more likely to get strep throat, but people of all ages can also become infected with it.

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat prevalence
  • Makes up approximately 1.3% of outpatient visits
  • Viral tonsillitis is more common under the age of 5
  • Bacterial tonsillitis is rare under the age of 2
  • Several million cases of non-invasive group A strep illness occur each year
  • Group A streptococcus bacteria causes between 20% to 30% of sore throats in children
  • Group A streptococcus bacteria causes between 5% and 15% of sore throats in adults



Tonsillitis is characterized by a sore throat, discomfort when swallowing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Acute voice changes are also possible. Some people may develop a stiff neck and headache.


Symptoms of strep throat are very similar to tonsillitis but tend to be more severe.

Common symptoms include sore throat, pain when swallowing, fever, bad breath, tiny red spots inside the mouth and throat, swollen lymph nodes, and inflamed tonsils. White patches or pus may also be seen near the tonsils. Flu-like symptoms including body aches, headache, and chills. Nausea and vomiting are possible but are more common in children.

Severe strep throat infections can lead to swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing.

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Discomfort when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Voice changes
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sore throat
  • Discomfort or difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Tiny red spots inside the mouth or at the back of the throat
  • Inflamed, red tonsils (may have white spots)
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Nausea or vomiting

RELATED: Learn more about tonsillitis



Your healthcare provider will do a thorough exam to determine whether you have tonsillitis. They will start by asking questions about your symptoms and whether you have had tonsillitis or strep throat in the past.

A lighted instrument is used to check your throat for signs of infection including redness, swelling, or pus. Your doctor will also press gently on your lymph nodes to look for signs of swelling.

If an infection is suspected, a rapid antigen test and culture may be required. A swab is used to take a sample of the fluid in your throat to determine whether the infection is bacterial or viral. The rapid strep test is done in the office and produces results within minutes. These tests aren’t always reliable, so they may still send the sample to a lab for further testing. Throat cultures are also helpful for identifying the right antibiotic for effective treatment.

If this is your first time developing tonsillitis, your doctor will probably categorize your case as acute. This means that it is a short-term case. People with chronic tonsillitis have repeat infections and may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation.


The diagnosis process for strep throat is very similar to tonsillitis. If you’ve had a sore throat and fever for several days, you should be evaluated for strep throat as soon as possible.

Your doctor will take your medical history and ask you about your symptoms. They will check your lymph nodes for swelling and look into your throat with a lighted instrument.

If your doctor’s exam finds signs of strep throat, they will most likely administer a rapid strep test in the office. A long swab is used to take a sample of the fluid from around your tonsils. Within a few minutes, the rapid test can give you a positive or negative strep result.

Most doctors will send the sample to a lab for culture, regardless of whether the rapid test comes back positive or negative. The rapid test results may be used to guide initial diagnosis and treatment, but the lab results will determine more accurate results.

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat diagnosis
  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Rapid antigen test
  • Throat culture (lab)
  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Rapid antigen test
  • Throat culture (lab)



Viral tonsillitis is treated with over-the-counter medications to alleviate pain and discomfort. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to reduce the pain and swelling, as well as any fever. If the pain is severe, you can alternate these medications for more effective relief. 

Other at-home remedies include drinking plenty of liquids, taking throat lozenges, gargling warm salt water, and using a humidifier to moisten the air and reduce irritation.

Bacterial tonsillitis can be treated with antibiotics. The most common antibiotic is penicillin. 

Surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is a treatment option for patients with chronic tonsillitis. This is an outpatient surgery for most people.


A bacterial strep infection is commonly treated with amoxicillin or penicillin. Other common antibiotics include Zithromax (azithromycin), Suprax (cefixime), Biaxin (clarithromycin), and Cleocin (clindamycin).

At-home remedies for strep throat are the same as for tonsillitis. Drinking warm liquids may temporarily help relieve some of the pain. Popsicles and throat lozenges may also help provide pain relief and comfort. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen will help reduce pain, fever, and swelling.

For patients with recurring strep infections despite antibiotic treatment, surgically removing the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be considered as a way to prevent future infections and long-term complications. 

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat treatments
  • At-home remedies
  • Antibiotics (bacterial)
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Tonsillectomy (chronic)
  • At-home remedies
  • Antibiotics (bacterial)
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Tonsillectomy (chronic)

RELATED: Learn more about strep throat treatment

Risk factors


School-aged children are at higher risk for developing tonsillitis. Working in an environment that involves frequent exposure to germs, including schools and healthcare facilities, also increases the risk. 


The bacteria that causes strep throat is very contagious. The virus is most common in school-aged children, making schools a popular location for the spread of strep throat.

Because strep throat is very contagious, being exposed to someone who has strep throat puts you at an increased risk for developing the infection. Person-to-person transmission is very common, making it easy to pick up the group A strep bacteria from surfaces and contaminated air. Adults who work with children are also at increased risk.

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat risk factors
  • Being exposed to someone with tonsillitis
  • School-aged children
  • People who come into contact with school-aged children frequently
  • Frequent exposure to germs
  • Being exposed to someone with strep bacteria
  • School-aged children
  • People who come into contact with school-aged children frequently
  • Frequent exposure to germs



Tonsillitis is contagious. Washing your hands regularly is important for preventing both bacterial and viral infections. If soap and water aren’t available, alcohol-based sanitizers can be used temporarily. Avoid sharing food or drinks with others to prevent spreading infections. 


The best way to prevent strep throat is to wash your hands frequently. Always wash your hands with soap and water when possible, as this is the best way to kill germs.

Other ways to prevent strep throat include:

  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizer when necessary
  • Avoid contact with others if you have strep throat
  • Take your medication as prescribed
  • Sanitize surfaces in high-traffic areas often

If you’re currently being treated for strep throat, follow your doctor’s medical advice for returning to work or school. Antibiotics help prevent the spread of strep throat. You should have taken your medication for 24 hours and be fever-free before returning to your normal routine.

How to prevent tonsillitis vs. strep throat causes
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Cover your cough
  • Avoid sharing food and beverages with others
  • Keep surfaces sanitized
  • Avoid coming into contact with people who have tonsillitis
  • Cover your cough
  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid sharing food and beverages with others
  • Keep surfaces sanitized
  • Avoid coming in contact with people who have strep throat

When to see a doctor for tonsillitis or strep

If you have symptoms of tonsillitis or strep throat including sudden onset of throat pain, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged tonsils (with or without pus), painful swallowing, and a fever greater than 101F for longer than two days, visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions about tonsillitis and strep

How to tell the difference between tonsillitis and strep

The symptoms of tonsillitis and strep throat are very similar. Strep throat is caused by streptococcus bacteria and causes fever and persistent pain. Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils and is also painful, but could be viral or bacterial. The best way to tell the difference between tonsillitis and strep is to visit your healthcare provider for a culture.

Difference between viral and bacterial tonsillitis

Several viruses, including the influenza virus, can cause viral tonsillitis. Viral cases are usually mild and don’t require antibiotic treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers and home remedies help ease the symptoms.

Bacterial tonsillitis usually causes more severe symptoms. Some bacterial infections can improve without antibiotics, but this isn’t always the case. Your doctor will determine what treatment is appropriate for you.

How long does strep throat last?

Strep throat usually goes away within a week when taking antibiotics. You’ll continue to be contagious until you’ve taken your antibiotics for at least 24 hours and are fever-free.

Strep throat can be contagious for longer when antibiotics aren’t used. You’re also at a higher risk for developing rheumatic fevers, including scarlet fever.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Yes, tonsillitis is contagious. It spreads easily through the air or on surfaces. If you have tonsillitis, follow your doctor’s prevention guidelines to help stop the spread.


Tonsillitis | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis means that your tonsils are inflamed. Your tonsils are large, fleshy glands at the back of your throat. These glands make antibodies that help fight infection.

What causes tonsillitis?

Both bacteria and viruses can cause tonsillitis. Here are some of them:

  • Streptococcus, or strep, bacteria. These germs are the most common cause.

  • Adenoviruses

  • Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis

  • Herpes simplex virus

  • Cytomegalovirus

  • Measles virus

These germs are usually easily passed from one person to another (contagious).

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Each person may have slightly different symptoms. These are the most common symptoms of tonsillitis:

  • Swollen, red tonsils. They may look yellow, gray, or white.

  • 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. You can pass these bacteria on to another person.

A complication of tonsillitis is an area around the tonsils filled with bacteria. This is called a peritonsillar abscess. You may have these symptoms:

  • Severe throat pain

  • Muffled voice

  • Drooling

  • Difficulty opening mouth

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

How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history and do a physical exam. Your provider may do a strep test if he or she thinks the infection is caused by strep bacteria. Or your provider may do this test to rule out strep as the cause. To do this test, your provider will take a swab of your tonsils.

How is tonsillitis treated?

Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:

  • How old you are

  • Your overall health and past health

  • How sick you are

  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • How long the condition is expected to last

  • Your opinion or preference

Tonsillitis caused by a virus is treated differently from tonsillitis caused by bacteria. Your healthcare provider may give you antibiotic medicine for tonsillitis caused by bacteria. He or she may give you antiviral medicine to treat tonsillitis caused by a virus.

If your tonsillitis comes back again and again, your provider may recommend surgery. The surgery will remove your tonsils.

You may need treatment right away if you develop a peritonsillar abscess. This is because the abscess may block your airway.

Can tonsillitis be prevented?

No vaccine or medicine can prevent tonsillitis. The following tips can help keep you from spreading an illness that can cause tonsillitis:

  • Keep your distance from anyone with tonsillitis or a sore throat.

  • Do not share utensils, drinking glasses, toothbrushes, or other personal objects with anyone who has tonsillitis or a sore throat.

  • Wash your hands often.

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Key points about tonsillitis

  • Tonsillitis means that your tonsils are inflamed.

  • Both bacteria and viruses can cause tonsillitis. These are usually easily passed from one person to another.

  • Tonsillitis caused by a virus is treated differently from tonsillitis caused by bacteria.

  • You can help prevent tonsillitis by washing your hands often. You should also stay away from anyone with a sore throat or tonsillitis.

  • You will need treatment right away if you develop a peritonsillar abscess. This can block your airway.

90,000 Chronic tonsillitis in children – Treatment and diagnosis at the EMC clinic in Moscow

Chronic tonsillitis is a prolonged inflammation of the tonsils. The reasons for the development of chronic tonsillitis in children can be a hereditary predisposition, the presence of a viral or bacterial infection, allergies, decreased immunity (general and local), transferred in the past and, possibly, not completely cured sore throats (acute tonsillitis), as well as the presence of a source of infection in the cavity mouth, such as dental caries.

Getting on the amygdala, the infection lingers in the lacunae – the internal crypts of the lymphoid tissue. In a healthy tonsil, the lacunae are always clean, healthy lymphoid tissue captures the incoming infectious agent and disinfects it, letting in air or food further. A chronically diseased amygdala cannot do this. The amygdala captures the infection, but is unable to neutralize it, so it accumulates in the lacunae. In the lacunas, which in chronic tonsillitis are modified (expand and deformed), food debris, bacteria, fungi enter, leukocytes tend to the same place, calcium salts fall out, which form the so-called purulent-caseous plugs and become an even greater source of infection.Therefore, chronic tonsillitis is usually accompanied by a concomitant violation of any body functions.

Symptoms of acute and chronic tonsillitis

  • Angina: sore throat, significant fever, deterioration of health, malaise, enlargement of regional lymph nodes. With fungal or bacterial tonsillitis, plaque may appear on the tonsils, viral tonsillitis is manifested by bubbly rashes and swelling of the tonsils.

  • Chronic tonsillitis is often asymptomatic and manifests itself only as exacerbations in the form of tonsillitis.Symptoms may include recurrent discomfort or sore throat, bad breath, general weakness, malaise, excessive sweating, prolonged increases in body temperature to 37.1 – 37.3 degrees C °, an increase in regional lymph nodes.

In chronic tonsillitis, the functions of “target organs” (heart, kidneys, joints) may be impaired. This is often manifested by joint pain, arthritis, arthrosis, endocarditis, pericarditis, myocarditis and other diseases.Therefore, chronic tonsillitis can be attributed to systemic diseases. If chronic tonsillitis proceeds with complications (the so-called decompensated form of tonsillitis), surgery is recommended (removal of the tonsil).

In angina, a dangerous local complication is a peritonsillar abscess, when pus from the tonsils enters the surrounding tissues and an abscess forms. This is an acute and very painful condition in which it is contraindicated to self-medicate, you must immediately consult a doctor.Peritonsillar abscess is an indication for the removal of the tonsils to exclude relapse.

Diagnostics of chronic tonsillitis

Visual inspection. Signs of chronic tonsillitis are adhesions of the tonsils with the arches, the presence of discharge (purulent, caseous) in the lacunae, a change in the shape and size of the anterior and posterior arches of the tonsils (Preobrazhensky’s symptom), reddening of the arches (Giese’s symptom), their swelling (Zak’s symptom), an increase in regional lymph nodes.

Laboratory blood tests: ESR indices, leukocyte formula, markers of streptococcal infection (C-reactive protein, antistreptolysin O).

Diagnosis of sore throat

Visual inspection. Redness and swelling of the tonsils, the presence of plaque, an increase and soreness of regional lymph nodes.

Laboratory research: sowing from the surface of the tonsil plaque on the flora and sensitivity to antibiotics, a smear for diphtheria (to exclude or confirm its presence), a clinical blood test.

Chronic tonsillitis in a child: treatment

In acute tonsillitis, antibiotic therapy is required.Thus, not only the treatment of the tonsils is carried out, but also the complications that often arise with angina are excluded. Local anti-inflammatory antibacterial or antiseptic therapy, analgesic treatment, antihistamines are recommended.

In chronic tonsillitis, conservative treatment consists in removing the contents from the lacunae of the tonsils (for example, gargling with antiseptic solutions, saline solutions; the use of local antiseptics in the form of lozenges and sprays).Conservative treatment is usually used in courses. In addition, rinses with anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal infusions are prescribed. Physiotherapy is also used – ultraviolet irradiation and ultrasound in the submandibular region with anti-inflammatory drugs.

If conservative treatment fails, sore throats recur or signs of tonsillitis remain unchanged, surgical treatment is prescribed. If chronic tonsillitis is diagnosed, the tonsils are removed completely.

At the European Medical Center, tonsils are removed to a child in a state of safe medication sleep, which eliminates psychological discomfort and negative impressions from visiting the clinic. Simultaneously with the removal, the niche is coagulated, thereby eliminating the risk of bleeding by 90%. About a day after the operation, a small patient can leave the walls of the clinic.

Surgical treatment of children’s tonsillitis in the EMC Children’s Clinic is carried out according to modern methods and protocols that have proven their effectiveness.To remove tonsils, a radio wave knife, laser or high-frequency coagulation, bipolar forceps are used. They can significantly reduce the length of hospital stay, significantly reduce the risk of postoperative bleeding and significantly reduce the period of complete recovery of the child after the intervention.

For medical reasons, EMC uses less radical methods: tonsillotomy, lacunotomy, ablation or fulguration of the tonsils, laser exposure. The decision on the most optimal method is made by the attending physician individually in each case, depending on the stage of the disease and the degree of prevalence of the pathological process.If several options are suitable, the advantages of each of them are discussed with the parents of the little patient, and the most optimal method is selected together.

Is tonsillitis contagious for others?

Doctors told if tonsillitis is contagious for others. The tonsils are two small lymph nodes located on either side of the back of the throat, Omsk writes.

Like other lymph nodes, they are part of the immune system. Their task is to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the body through the nose and mouth.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

However, sometimes viruses and bacteria manage to infect the tonsils. The infection causes irritation and inflammation of the tonsils. Doctors call inflammation of the tonsils sore throat.

Tonsillitis usually affects children over 2 years of age, and rarely affects adults. According to the US National Library of Medicine, tonsillitis is such a common childhood disease that every child has experienced it at least once.

Tonsillitis is an inflammatory response of the body to an infection of the tonsils.Thus, tonsillitis itself is not contagious.

However, the viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis are contagious. Therefore, the most effective way to stop the spread of tonsillitis is to stop the spread of the pathogens that cause it.

How does it spread?

Tonsillitis can result from either a bacterial or viral infection.

Bacterial tonsillitis

  • One of the main bacterial causes of tonsillitis is group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection (GEBS), which doctors often refer to as group A (GA) streptococci.
  • These are the bacteria responsible for strep throat.
  • According to a 2016 survey, GA streptococci are responsible for 15-30% of sore throats in children and 5-15% of sore throats in adults.
  • GA Streptococcus is spread when a person has direct contact with the saliva or mucus of someone who already has an infection.
  • This includes inhaling bacteria-filled droplets from the air.

Bacteria spread faster in places where people, especially children, are in close proximity.Schools and kindergartens can be cited as examples.

GA Streptococcus usually starts to cause symptoms between 2-5 days after the bacteria has infected someone.

Viral tonsillitis

Viruses that cause colds and flu can also cause tonsillitis. These viruses can live on surfaces such as computer keyboards and doorknobs for hours. This resilience helps them spread.


In most cases, tonsillitis develops very quickly.The most common signs and symptoms of tonsillitis are:

  • raw, sore or prickly sensation in the throat
  • red and swollen tonsils with white spots
  • enlarged and sensitive lymph nodes in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing, or pain when swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • dehydration
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain

Some children can develop chronic or recurrent tonsillitis when they experience at least five episodes of tonsillitis per year.


In children under 5 years of age, the cause of tonsillitis is usually a viral infection. In children between the ages of 5 and 15, the cause is usually bacterial.

Up to 70% of acute tonsillitis cases are caused by one of the following viruses:

  • adenoviruses
  • coronavirus
  • cytomegalovirus
  • enteroviruses
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • influenza viruses
  • HIV
  • measles virus
  • rhinovirus


Determining whether tonsillitis is caused by a virus or bacteria is an important step in ensuring effective treatment.

Tonsillitis symptoms usually resolve within 1–2 weeks. During this time, a person can use the following home procedures:

  • drink plenty of liquid
  • Suppress pain with lollipops and over-the-counter drugs

People with bacterial tonsillitis will need antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics help speed recovery and reduce the risk of rheumatic fever and other potential complications of bacterial tonsillitis.


The best way to avoid tonsillitis is to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that cause infection.

Health Professionals Recommend:

  • frequent handwashing
  • Use of hand sanitizer when hands cannot be washed
  • teaching children to close their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze
  • keep sick children at home until their fever has passed or they receive antibiotics for at least 24 hours
  • make sure people who are sick do not share food, drinks or towels with those who are not sick
  • disinfection of surfaces in common living quarters
  • Replacing a human toothbrush after recovering from tonsillitis

It is important to maintain good hygiene even when no one seems to be sick.Most people are contagious before they develop symptoms.

Tonsillitis develops when an infection causes inflammation, irritation, and swelling in the tonsils. It is much more common among children than among adults. In fact, almost every child in the United States has had tonsillitis at least once.

Tonsillitis itself is not contagious, but the viruses and bacteria that cause it are contagious. There are many precautions people can take to help prevent the spread of pathogens that cause tonsillitis.Examples include maintaining good hygiene, controlling coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with sick people.

90,000 Viral warts treatment, Human papillomavirus, HPV, Removal of warts

Warts are neoplasms that form under the influence of a virus on any part of the skin. Most often these are:

  • Hands;
  • The soles of the feet;
  • Neck;
  • Face;
  • Genital mucous membranes;
  • The area near the anus.

The cause of their occurrence is HPV (human papillomavirus). More than 100 types of this virus are known to doctors, and a number of them can cause malignant neoplasms.
Therefore, if such growths have arisen, you need to consult a dermatologist. Specialists of the MEDEL Clinic have extensive practical experience in the treatment of warts.

HPV causes
The causative agent of the disease can enter the human body in places such as a sauna, SPA-salon, swimming pool.Also, HPV from a person who is a virus carrier to a healthy person can be transmitted by household and sexual routes.

How warts appear
These neoplasms, hiding under the layer of the epidermis, grow very slowly. Their color does not stand out at first. However, over time, the warts darken to a gray or brown tint.
Usually, neoplasms bring only aesthetic discomfort. However, warts can be painful if, for example, they form on the hands.As a result of injuries, the upper part of the neoplasm is often deformed, becomes wet and bleeds.
Plantar warts are the biggest problem. The growths cut into the dermis, injure the tissues, causing pain when walking. If the infection spreads, the warts will grow, thus aggravating the condition of the infected person.

Treatment of warts

In case of viral warts, you must:

  • Strengthen immunity;
  • Destroy the virus;
  • Remove skin formation;
  • Prevent relapses.

Such areas of treatment are chosen by the dermatologists of the MEDEL Clinic.
The body of a healthy person with good immunity can reject the infection or defeat it quickly enough. This is facilitated by a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition with essential vitamins and minerals.
Conservative methods of treating viral warts are that dermatologists externally apply special medications. They help to soften and slough off the stratum corneum.

Removal of warts
The most effective solution to the problem is to remove the viral warts. In the MEDEL Clinic, this is done using the following procedures:

  • Laser wart removal;
  • Electrocoagulation;
  • Cryodestruction.

Such methods of treatment are selected by a specialist dermatologist individually, taking into account:

  • The size of the wart;
  • Its location;
  • Depths;
  • The number of rashes.

The MEDEL Clinic also removes damaged growths that bleed and get wet.
The most effective method of removal is cryotherapy (cryodestruction). Liquid nitrogen squeezes out the contents of the wart, causing tissue necrosis. At this point, a crust forms, which later disappears. Healing is fast enough.
Electrocoagulation is also an effective method. The miniature loop is heated with an electric current and cuts the build-up easily and quickly.During the procedure, local anesthesia is applied if necessary.
Laser removal of warts is painless, precise and delicate, without heating the surrounding tissues. One procedure is enough to remove growths of any size.


Specialists of the MEDEL Clinic recommend that when warts appear, do not self-medicate, but be sure to make an appointment with a dermatologist. In no case should you delete them yourself, this can make the situation even worse.
Modern technologies used in MEDEL Clinic get rid of viral warts painlessly, effectively and easily. 90,000 tonsillitis, is it contagious? How is it transmitted to others?

Tonsillitis (its acute form – tonsillitis) is an inflammatory process of the lymphoid pharyngeal ring with a predominant lesion of the tonsils. There are acute and chronic types of the disease. Most families, especially those with small children, are interested in: is tonsillitis contagious or not? To answer this question, you need to understand what is the cause of the disease and what is the mechanism of its development.

Causes of the onset of the disease

Tonsillitis can be bacterial, viral and fungal in nature.

  1. Bacteria are the most common pathogens. Pathogenic microflora is represented by streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, corynebacteria, spirochetes, Haemophilus influenzae. They are a common reason that the inflammatory process becomes chronic.
  2. Viral pathogens – ranked second in terms of the incidence of disease.In most cases, viruses become the primary foreign agents, against the background of the action of which bacterial pathogens join a little later, causing the development of complications. This group includes influenza virus, enteroviruses (Coxsackie), parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial, adenovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, infectious mononucleosis.
  3. Mushrooms – such tonsillitis rarely occurs as a primary disease, more often it becomes the result of antibiotic treatment for bacterial sore throat.It is characterized by the appearance of white cheesy discharge on the mucous membrane of the tonsils, in patients with immunodeficiency it can become chronic.


There are several ways in which bacteria, viruses and fungi enter the body. The viral pathogen is the cause of the acute course of the inflammatory process, while bacteria can cause both acute and chronic tonsillitis.

Viruses are highly volatile, which means that the disease caused by them is highly contagious (infectious).Viral pathogens enter the human body by airborne droplets and by household contact. When communicating with a patient with an acute form of this type of angina, the possibility of infection is at a high level.

As a rule, viral tonsillitis occurs against the background of influenza, adenovirus infection or other respiratory diseases. The pathogen enters the environment with exhaled air, coughs, sneezes, and is transmitted to others. The process takes on the most infectious nature indoors, because everyone knows that viruses quickly lose their aggressiveness on the street.This applies to preschool, medical and prophylactic institutions, and other places where a large number of people gather.

An important point is that a person who “caught” a virus from a patient may not get tonsillitis manifestations. After entering the body, the immune system begins to fight against foreign agents, using all its defenses. The causative agent can simply be inactivated, without becoming the cause of the disease at all, or, if the immunity has not coped with the task, cause a respiratory disease, conjunctivitis or another disease of viral origin.


These pathogens are characterized by more transmission routes:

  • airborne;
  • contact and household;
  • artifactual;
  • endogenous.

Bacteria also enter the body, like viruses, by airborne droplets and by contact. But bacterial pathogens do not have “viral” volatility, which makes them less contagious. Pathogens remain on household items, personal hygiene. They can enter the body of a healthy person if the same items are used together.

Artifical pathway – the entry of pathogenic microflora into the body through insufficiently processed medical instruments used for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. This is typical for dental clinics, treatment-and-prophylactic institutions, highly specialized clinics and laboratories. Tonsillitis can develop in a patient after “acquiring” bacteria in this way, but this process will not occur from another patient with angina.

The endogenous route of transmission is characterized by the fact that bacteria that have entered the body of a healthy person and settled on the mucous membranes are spread to other organs and systems with the flow of blood and lymph.Thus, a person who came into contact with the infected material could receive the required number of pathogens. The immune system weakened under the influence of external factors, and bacteria began to grow, multiply and spread throughout the body.

Process brightness

An important point in whether the inflammatory process is infectious to others or not is the activity of bacteria. The greatest activity is observed during the acute course of the disease, when purulent plaque is observed on the tonsils.It is in the composition of the purulent contents that a huge number of pathogens are found. Contact of a healthy person with plaque, infected saliva can lead to contamination of healthy skin or mucous membranes.

The chronic process is characterized by the absence of plaque and a minimum of manifestations. During this period, bacteria are not infectious to others, but can lead to significant complications from the patient’s body, causing the development of pathologies of the cardiovascular, nervous, and urinary systems.


The question of whether fungal tonsillitis is transmitted to others or not has no clear answer. Purely theoretically, fungi can lead to contamination of healthy skin and mucous membranes, but this requires a combination of weakening of the functions of the immune system and direct contact with the patient’s curdled plaque, which is an accumulation of fungus.

A healthy organism has its own transient microflora, which is necessary for the proper functioning of organs and systems.Under the influence of unfavorable factors, the ratio of “healthy” bacteria changes. In this case, the fungi begin to multiply actively, causing the disease. In most cases, fungal tonsillitis is not harmful to others.

Provoking factors

Once in the body of a healthy person, bacteria can be inactivated by the immune system. But with a decrease in protective forces, a person is not able to resist foreign agents. Contributing factors in the development of the disease are:

  • bad habits;
  • living in a difficult ecological situation;
  • occupational hazards;
  • systemic diseases;
  • congenital or acquired immunodeficiency state;
  • the presence of chronic foci of infection;
  • hypothermia.

It can be concluded that the infectiousness of tonsillitis depends on the brightness of the course of the disease, the duration of the patient’s treatment, the possible route of transmission, the type of pathogen, associated factors and the state of the immune system of the surrounding people.

90,000 Diagnostics and treatment of tonsillitis in Kemerovo

The palatine tonsils are one of the first barriers to airborne infections. They are organized lymphoid tissue that provides local and general immunity.In some cases, the palatine tonsils can become inflamed – tonsillitis, or tonsillitis, occurs. In this article, we will answer the most pressing questions related to this disease.

What is tonsillitis and tonsillopharyngitis

Tonsillitis is a term for any inflammation of the palatine tonsil, regardless of what caused it. In modern otorhinolaryngology, and especially in the articles of Western experts, the concept of a “single airway” is popular today, since the infection almost never affects only one organ.Therefore, in the materials of English-speaking specialists, the term “tonsillopharyngitis” is often used – inflammation of the palatine tonsils and pharynx, which, in principle, is quite reasonable.

What is the difference between tonsillitis and sore throat

Angina is a historically formed and widely used name for acute tonsillitis, and nothing more. Sometimes angina is also called exacerbation of chronic tonsillitis.

Is angina contagious

Only an infection can be contagious, and not the inflammation caused by it.Actually, the likelihood of infection depends on the nature of the pathogen. If the inflammation is caused by the excessive activity of its own microflora, then such a disease is not contagious, and if angina is caused, for example, by a diphtheria bacillus, then its danger to others is beyond doubt.

What microbes cause tonsillitis

In most cases, tonsillopharyngitis is of a viral nature.

Less than a third of tonsillopharyngitis are of a bacterial nature.The causative agent of sore throat here can be hemophilic bacillus, Staphylococcus aureus, pneumococci, mycoplasma and chlamydia. Much less common, but there are tonsillitis caused by the causative agents of whooping cough, diphtheria, gonorrhea and syphilis.

The most common cause of bacterial tonsillitis is group A β-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS), which is most commonly sown in children aged 5-15 years. GABHS is the main reason why a child should be prescribed antibiotics for angina, but it practically does not occur in children under 3 years of age.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis

This largely depends on the infectious agent that caused the inflammation. The main symptom of sore throat is sore throat when swallowing, which is often perceived in children as pain in the ear. Small children who cannot complain of pain on their own refuse to eat.

With tonsillitis, you can also observe:

  • • fever, including very high fever;
  • • weakness and malaise;
  • • enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes;
  • • headache;
  • • nasal voice;
  • • bad breath.

When examining the throat, redness and swelling of the tonsils are found, sometimes purulent deposits on them.

How is tonsillitis diagnosed

The actual diagnosis of tonsillitis is not difficult. To do this, simply examine the throat. The main task of diagnostics for tonsillitis is to understand the cause of the disease and exclude GABHS infection, which requires the mandatory prescription of antibiotics.

It is important to recognize in a timely manner a sore throat caused by beta-hemolytic streptococcus as an infection, the timely treatment of which has been proven to reduce the risks of rather dangerous complications.To diagnose streptococcal sore throat in children, rapid tests and a smear for bacteriological culture can be used. These methods, however, are not without drawbacks. Rapid tests allow you to quickly assess the situation, but are not highly sensitive, while bacterial culture, which has high sensitivity and specificity, takes a certain amount of time.

How to treat tonsillitis

The three main directions in the treatment of angina are:

  • • antibiotic therapy;
  • • symptomatic therapy;
  • • removal of palatine tonsils.

You can start treating tonsillitis both immediately and after waiting for the results of bacterial culture, if it is carried out. If antibiotic therapy is started before the results of bacteriological examination are obtained, then if a negative result is obtained, antibiotics should be canceled. In the future, there is no need for routine cultures from the oropharynx, except in cases of frequent relapses of tonsillitis.


Tonsillectomy, or removal of the tonsils, can be recommended for frequent relapses of chronic tonsillitis caused by beta-hemolytic streptococcus A.90,000 Sore throat – cold, sore throat or tonsillitis?

Sore throat is a common symptom of a cold (acute respiratory viral disease). However, a sore throat with a cold lasts one to two days and may go away without treatment. Common companions for colds are runny nose and nasal congestion.

Sore throat, a disease caused by the bacteria streptococcus, is also a common cause of sore throat. With angina, the sore throat is intense, lasts longer and is accompanied by a number of general symptoms

Tonsillitis is a painful inflammation of the tonsils, which are located at the back of the throat.Also causes sore throat.

What causes a sore throat with a cold – bacteria or viruses?

Most often, a sore throat with a cold is caused by various viruses and may be accompanied by other symptoms of viral diseases – a runny nose, fever, coughing, redness of the eyes.

How to treat a sore throat with a cold?

While there are no drugs that act directly on the viruses that cause the common cold, there are treatments that can help relieve a person’s condition with a cold.Drinking plenty of warm fluids, saline gargling, and taking antipyretic medications can help reduce cold symptoms.

Does medication improve sore throat symptoms for colds?

Antipyretics can relieve cold symptoms and sore throat. But do not exaggerate the effectiveness of these drugs

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen relieve sore throat from colds.There are many commercial formulations that contain these substances. We remind you that aspirin should not be given to children, in order to avoid the development of Reye’s syndrome, which can cause brain damage and death .

  • Various sprays with antiseptics and anesthetics reduce the intensity of the sore throat.

  • Vasoconstrictor nasal sprays and drops improve the symptoms of sore throat with a cold by getting on the back of the throat.It is not recommended to use them for more than 3 days – they become ineffective and can cause even greater swelling of the mucous membrane

Antibiotics do not need to be used to treat colds and sore throats because all colds are caused by viruses .

How does a sore throat with strep sore throat differ from a sore throat with a cold?

Inflammation in the pharynx with angina is caused by the strep bacteria tococci.For infection with angina, airborne droplets are required with a patient or a carrier of streptococcal infection. Despite the fact that angina occurs more often in children from 5 to 15 years old, adults can also get sick with it. For an accurate diagnosis of sore throat, the attending physician may take a rapid test for streptococcus or send the material for bacterial research to the laboratory. Most often, the diagnosis is made by a doctor based on the leading symptoms of angina – high fever, acute sore throat, white plaque on the pharyngeal mucosa and enlarged regional lymph nodes in the neck.

Why is a sore throat more dangerous with a sore throat than with a cold?

Streptococcal sore throat can cause such a formidable complication as rheumatism with damage to the heart valves. Therefore, it is very important to start the correct treatment of sore throat on time. With proper treatment, the symptoms of sore throat disappear within 10 days.

Is sore throat different from sore throat and cold?

With angina, the sore throat is more intense and differs in a number of features

  • sudden onset

  • loss of appetite

  • pain when swallowing

  • redness of the tonsils with white patches

  • high fever

Should I seek help from a doctor if I suspect streptococcal sore throat?

On the first day of illness, a sore throat with colds and sore throats is very similar.If you still suspect the presence of a sore throat, it is imperative to consult a doctor to establish the correct diagnosis and therapy.

Treatment of sore throat with angina?

With angina, the use of antibiotics is mandatory . Oral antibiotics of the penicillin group are most often prescribed. If you are allergic to these antibiotics, the doctor chooses a different group. The prescribed regimen of Antibacterial must be strictly followed, even if you feel better during the first and second days.

Why does the sore throat not decrease with streptococcal sore throat?

Sometimes, despite taking medications, the condition with angina does not improve within two to three days. This may indicate the development of complications. A visit to the doctor is required to clarify the treatment. Always consult a doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • fever for more than 2-3 days while taking antibiotics

  • nausea or vomiting

  • earache

  • severe headache

  • neck muscle tension

  • the appearance of a rash on the skin

  • cough

  • shortness of breath

What is the difference between a sore throat with a cold and a sore throat with tonsillitis?

Sometimes a sore throat occurs with tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils (lymphatic tissue) in the throat.Tonsillitis can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. The tonsils protect the body from infection through the pharynx, but they themselves can be affected by an infectious agent. When this happens, the affected tonsils cause severe pain.

How do the symptoms of tonsillitis differ from a sore throat with a cold?

A cold is usually accompanied by symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, and coughing. With tonsillitis, these symptoms are absent, but there is swelling of the tonsils and a yellowish coating on them.In addition, with tonsillitis, the following symptoms occur:

  • difficulty breathing

  • fever

  • hoarseness of voice

  • pain when swallowing

  • enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

How to treat sore throat with tonsillitis?

If tonsillitis is caused by bacterial flora, antibiotics are needed.The decision is made by the attending physician. With a viral infection, antibiotics are useless. In this case, you should adhere to the tactics of treating sore throat with a cold. In any case, if you have a sore throat, you should follow the general recommendations:

  • be at rest

  • drink plenty of warm liquid

  • eat soft warm food, avoid rough and spicy foods

  • use medicated aerosols

  • use antipyretic drugs for fever

With frequent exacerbations of tonsillitis, a doctor’s consultation is necessary to resolve the issue of tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils).

For all questions related to the pathology of the ENT organs, you can contact the experienced ENT doctors of the ANDROMEDA Clinic.

Doctor of otorhinolaryngolo g of the highest category Morenko M.V.

obstetrician-gynecologist Antonina Viktorovna Starostina.

26 November 2019

Family Health Magazine

Human papillomavirus infection, which, depending on the manifestations, can be called viral warts, papillomas, genital warts or condylomatosis, is caused by a virus.The causative agent of the infection is a virus from the Papavaviridae family. The virus is called human papillomavirus or HPV for short or HPV (short for English human papilloma virus). The virus refers to DNA – containing viruses. And this means his ability to integrate into the DNA of human cells and change its properties.

More than 100 species have been discovered today. But only some of them are especially harmful to humans and can cause the following diseases:

• genital warts in men and women (types 6 and 11)

• genital warts and papillomatosis

larynx (8, 11, 16, 18 , 31, 35 types)

• molluscum contagiosum (6, 8, 11, 16 types)

• cancer of the cervix and vagina – in women and cancer of the penis and prostate – in

men (16 and 18 types)

Infection with a virus is not a disease.

According to statistics, only one of the three carriers of the papillomavirus really gets sick. Once in the cell, the human papilloma virus

changes its genetic apparatus,

, which in turn leads to an abnormal rate of its division, a change in the appearance of the cell. For a long time, and sometimes for a short time, papillomaviruses change the genetic apparatus of a cell so much that it gives rise to the growth of a cancerous tumor. Carriers of human papillomavirus develop genital cancer 3-5 times more often than non-carriers! In order for the disease to manifest itself in an “evil” form, a combination of many unfavorable factors is needed:

  • early onset of sexual activity
  • frequent change or the presence of several sexual partners
  • inflammatory processes of the female reproductive system
  • cervical injuries during childbirth or abortion
  • associated sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia, ureaplasmosis, mycoplasmosis, genital herpes, gonorrhea, etc. , caries)
  • pregnancy
  • artificial restriction of nutrition, weight loss.

By the way, many of these risk factors are social in nature, that is, it depends on the person himself whether he gets sick or not. The infection is transmitted between adults sexually or through direct or indirect contact in hairdressing salons, swimming pools, manicure-pedicure halls in violation of the skin. Also, the virus can be transmitted from mother to child when passing through the birth canal during childbirth.

There is evidence for intrauterine (through the placenta) infection of the fetus with HPV types 6 and 11.A person is dangerous to others as a source of possible infection only if there are growths on the skin and mucous membranes. In the latent period of the disease, transfer is almost impossible. That is, if the patient is found to have HPV as a result of the examination, and there are no complaints, then the woman is not contagious for her sexual partner, her family members, etc. The infection does not appear immediately after infection. Only after 1-2 weeks, and often 3 months, the first signs of the disease appear at the place that meets the infected surface.

The main manifestation in all cases is papilloma – the formation on the surface of the skin or mucous membrane. The papillomas are soft to the touch, they may be lobular in appearance, the color is pink or flesh. In response to irritation, the wart can grow in size and reach 5-7 cm in diameter, they consist of altered skin cells or mucous membranes. There are complaints of itching in the vagina, discomfort during sexual activity, small growths and warts appear in the area of ​​the entrance to the vagina and on the skin of the genitals.Often, papillomatosis does not heal for a long time or erosions of the cervix occur repeatedly, even if they were properly treated and cauterized.

The diagnosis of pillomavirus infection, especially when it comes to the localization of lesions in visible areas of the body, is not difficult. Sometimes, just an examination is enough to make a diagnosis. In case of doubt, as well as in case of damage to the internal genital organs, primarily the cervix, the urethra, an analysis is required. Today, the most reliable diagnostic method is polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

How to treat?

Medicine has not yet come up with a drug that selectively kills papplomavirus once and for all. Therefore, the main tactic of treatment is the restoration of the body’s defenses and mechanical removal of papillomas and warts.

  • Destructive methods – physical (cryodestruction, laser therapy, radio wave method, diathermocoagulation, electrosurgical excision), chemical (trichloroxuic acid, feresol. Solcoderm, condilin) ​​
  • Immunological methods.
  • Combined methods – a combination of the use of various methods of treatment (cryotherapy, laser excision, electrocoagulation, diathermocoagulation, ozone therapy).

How to protect yourself from infection and cervical cancer (CC)? Recognition of the infectious nature of cervical cancer opened up the possibility of its primary prevention by creating vaccines that prevent HPV infection. Currently, there are already vaccines, the effectiveness of which reaches 99-100%. It is desirable to be vaccinated for girls before the onset of sexual activity, as well as for young women at the beginning of their active sexual life.Currently, data have already been obtained on the effectiveness of vaccination in older women. The vaccine protects against the most dangerous types of the virus. The vaccination course consists of three intramuscular injections, which the patient should receive at a certain interval within 6 months. As with any other vaccination, the patient should not have serious somatic and neurological diseases, blood diseases. Contraindications are also: pregnancy and intolerance to the components of the vaccine.The vaccine is well tolerated.

What to do with a partner?

The development of oncological diseases of the genital organs in women is closely related to HPV infection of the genitals in men who are their sexual partners. As a result of a study of the connection of cervical cancer in women with HPV-infected sex partners, genital warts were found in 64.4% of men! It follows that the issue of prevention, timely diagnosis and treatment is very acute. The treatment tactics will be determined by your doctor after a thorough examination and diagnosis.