What is tonsillitis?

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Tonsillitis can develop at any age and considered as a common childhood infection. It is often diagnosed among children in preschool up to mid-teens.

The tonsils are 2 lymph nodes positioned on each side of the back of the throat. They are responsible for protecting the body against infection. If the tonsils are infected, the condition is known as tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis might have a viral cause including the common cold or even from a bacterial infection. Take note that viruses are the usual cause including the Epstein-Barr virus.

What are the indications?

Tonsillitis might have a viral cause including the common cold or even from a bacterial infection.

There are various forms of tonsillitis and several possible symptoms such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Scratchy-sounding voice
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Ear pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Tonsils with white or yellow spots
  • Neck and jaw tenderness due to the swollen lymph nodes
  • Tonsils appear swollen and red

Among young children, they have poor appetite, increased irritability or excessive drooling.

When to consult a doctor

In rare instances, tonsillitis can cause the throat to become swollen that it results to difficulty breathing. Once this occurs, seek immediate medical care.

A doctor must be seen if the following symptoms are present:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Fever higher than 103 degrees F
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sore throat that does not settle after 2 days


For a mild case of tonsillitis, treatment is not usually required especially if due to a virus such as common cold. As for severe cases, antibiotics or tonsillectomy is required.

Antibiotics are prescribed for a bacterial infection. It is vital to finish the full course of antibiotics. The doctor will schedule the individual for a follow-up appointment to ensure that the medication is effective.

Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the tonsils. This approach is only recommended for chronic or recurrent cases of tonsillitis. It is also the suitable option if the condition does not respond to other treatment options or complications are present.

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