Tonsillitis: Signs and Symptoms, causes, treatment


At the back of the throat are two tissue pads with an oval shape called tonsils. Tonsils are inflamed, one on each side. Tonsillitis symptoms include swollen tonsils, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and tender lymph nodes on the sides of the neck. Although bacterial infections can also cause tonsillitis, common viral infections account for most instances. The proper treatment for tonsillitis depends on getting a prompt and accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause. Once a routine treatment for tonsillitis, surgery to remove the tonsils is typically only done when the infection is severe, recurrent, or causes other serious consequences. Keep on reading to learn more!

Tonsillitis Symptoms

Children are most frequently affected with tonsillitis between the ages of six and mid-teens. Some of the symptoms and warning indications include:

  • Tonsils that are swollen and red
  • Tonsils with dots or a white or yellow coating
  • Tongue sore
  • Difficulty swallowing or discomfort
  • Fever
  • Extralarge, sensitive lymph nodes in the neck
  • A throaty, scratchy, or mumbled voice
  • Poor breath
  • Stomachache
  • Neck discomfort or stiffness
  • Headache

Young children with limited language skills who have tonsillitis may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Drooling brought on by a challenging or painful swallow
  • Failure to eat
  • Extravagant fussiness

Tonsillitis Causes

Although bacterial infections can sometimes be at blame, common viruses are most commonly to blame for tonsillitis. Streptococcus (group A streptococcus), the bacterium that causes strep throat, is the most frequent cause of tonsillitis. Tonsillitis has been connected to numerous other bacteria, including strep varieties.

Why do tonsils get infected?

Your tonsils serve as the immune system’s first line of defense against viruses and bacteria that enter your mouth. The tonsils may be particularly susceptible to infection and inflammation due to this role. The few incidences of tonsillitis in adults may be brought on by the tonsil’s immune system degrading after puberty.

Risk factors

Tonsillitis risk factors include:

  • Young age: Youngsters are most frequently affected by tonsillitis, which is most commonly brought on by bacteria in children between the ages of 5 and 15.
  • Frequent exposure to germs: Children in school are constantly exposed to bacteria or viruses that might cause tonsillitis due to their close interaction with their peers.


Numerous or persistent (chronic) tonsillitis can result in inflammation or swelling of the tonsils, which can lead to consequences like:

Strep infection

Your child is more likely to develop rare diseases like the following if group A streptococcus or another strain of streptococcal bacteria-caused tonsillitis is left untreated or treated insufficiently with antibiotics:

  • Rheumatic fever is a dangerous inflammatory disease that can harm the skin, joints, heart, and neurological system.
  • Scarlet fever complications, a streptococcal infection marked by a noticeable rash
  • Thrombosis of the kidneys (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis)
  • Joint inflammation brought on by post-streptococcal reactive arthritis.


Infectious microorganisms spread both bacterial and viral tonsillitis. Therefore, the most significant preventive measure is to maintain perfect hygiene. Teach your youngster to:

  • Wash hands regularly and thoroughly, particularly after using the restroom and before eating
  • Refrain from sharing food, drinks, water bottles, or utensils
  • After being informed that they have tonsillitis, change the toothbrush

To help your child prevent spreading bacterial or viral infections to others:

  • When a child is sick, keep them at home
  • Find out from your doctor when it’s okay for your youngster to return to school.
  • Show your kid how to sneeze or cough into a tissue or, if required, into their elbow.
  • Instruct your kid to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.

Tonsillitis Diagnosis

A tonsillitis treatment specialist will do a physical examination. In addition to feeling the sides of your neck for swelling and soreness, they could check your ears and nose for indications of infection. Your tonsils will be inspected to see if they are large, inflamed, or filled with pus. There will also be a test for fever. It could be necessary to perform tests to identify the cause of your tonsillitis. They consist of the following:

  • A throat swab: It will allow your doctor to check for strep bacteria in your saliva and throat cells. While potentially uncomfortable, this won’t harm you. A cotton swab will be used to clear the back of your throat. Your doctor may occasionally request a two-day lab test as well. A virus most likely caused your tonsillitis if these tests come back negative.
  • A blood test: Your doctor may refer to this as a complete blood cell count during a blood test (CBC). If a virus or bacterial infection caused your tonsillitis, it could be determined by comparing the high, and low blood cell counts.
  • Rash: Your doctor will examine you for scarlatina, a rash associated with strep throat.

Tonsillitis Treatments

Your illness’s underlying cause will affect how you are treated.

  • Medication: Antibiotics will be prescribed if your tests reveal germs. Your doctor may administer these medications as a one-time injection or as pills for you to take daily. You’ll start to feel better within two or three days, but taking all your medication is crucial.
  • Home remedies: If you have a virus, antibiotics won’t work to treat the infection because your body will battle it on its own.
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Consume smooth foods, such as flavored gelatins, ice cream, and applesauce, to relieve throat pain
  • Use a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in your room
  • Use warm salt water to gargle
  • Suck on benzocaine- or other medication-containing lozenges to numb your throat
  • Utilize over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen or acetaminophen

Tonsillectomy surgery

Your doctor will work to ensure that you preserve your tonsils because they are a crucial component of your immune system. However, you might need to have your tonsils removed if your tonsillitis keeps returning or won’t go away or if swollen tonsils make it difficult for you to breathe or eat. Tonsillectomy is the name of this procedure. Tonsillectomy used to be a highly popular medical procedure. However, doctors only advise it if tonsillitis keeps recurring. That indicates that you or your child has experienced tonsillitis more than seven times in a calendar year, more than four or five times in the previous two years, or more than three times during the last three years.

When to see a doctor

If your child exhibits symptoms that could point to tonsillitis, it’s critical to receive a proper diagnosis.

If your kid exhibits any of the following, contact your doctor:

  • A fever and sore throat
  • A persistent cough lasting longer than 24 to 48 hours
  • Difficulty swallowing or discomfort
  • Extreme lethargy, exhaustion, or fussiness

If your kid exhibits any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Terrible swallowing challenges
  • Uncontrollable drooling


If you want the most excellent care, contact Dr. Simple Bhandania. Dr. Simple Bhadania specializes in ENT and skull base surgery in Ahmedabad and surrounding areas. At the Ace Ent clinic in Ahmedabad, Dr. Simple is one of the best Tonsillitis treatment specialists who specializes in the advanced endoscopic sinus, ear, head & neck, and cochlear implant surgery.