What is Tonsillitis? Symptoms, Types & Treatment

What is Tonsillitis Symptoms, Types & Treatment

Tonsils are lymphoid tissues located at the back of our throat and are part of our body's immune system. The tonsils function as entrance points from the throat, collecting virus and bacterium particles breathed in or swallowed and relaying them to the immune system. Think of them as the door bouncers to our bodies working to keep viruses and bacteria from getting in our mouths.

What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the tonsils, which are two lumps of tissue in the back of our throat. However, bacteria and viruses can sometimes overwhelm them. This can cause tonsils to swell and become inflamed.

Types of Tonsillitis

There are three main types of tonsillitis, such as:

  • Acute Tonsillitis:

Acute means a single episode in which the patient has a fever and pain. These symptoms typically last 3 to 4 days but can linger up to 2 weeks.

  • Recurrent Tonsillitis:

This is when tonsillitis occurs more than once a year.

  • Chronic Tonsillitis:

Chronic tonsillitis is something in which a patient, throughout the year, has to go through 5 to 6 episodes of acute tonsillitis. The throat gets hampered very often. Bad breath and persistently tender cervical nodes are some of its signs.

Causes of Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils typically caused by a viral or bacterial infection, which can lead to suffering. Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus), the bacteria that causes strep throat, is the most prevalent bacterium and the cause of tonsillitis.

When this happens, the tonsil itself becomes infected and starts to get swollen due to inflammation, which leads to a condition known as tonsillitis. Because the tonsils are constantly trapping bacteria, they can become infected relatively easily, especially in kids, resulting in recurrent acute tonsillitis.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis

Having tonsils is not a disease, but tonsil infections or tonsillitis is a trouble for patients. As symptoms of tonsillitis, a patient feels the following:

  1. Pain in the throat
  2. Faces problems while eating & drinking
  3. Chocked throat while having something cold or sour
  4. Irritation in the throat with the change in season
  5. Fever
  6. Headache
  7. Swollen glands in our neck

Risks & Complications of Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis risk factors include:

  1. Age:

Tonsillitis most commonly affects children, and bacteria-caused tonsillitis is most common in children aged 5 to 15.

  1. Frequent contact with germs:

Children of school age frequently interact with their friends and are frequently exposed to viruses or germs that might cause tonsillitis.

Inflammation or swelling caused by frequent or ongoing (chronic) tonsillitis can cause severe complications of tonsillitis, such as:

  1. Sleep breathing problems (obstructive sleep apnea)
  2. Infection that spreads deep into surrounding tissue (tonsillar cellulitis)
  3. Infection that leads to a pus accumulation behind a tonsil (peritonsillar abscess)

Diagnosis for Tonsillitis

Medical management of tonsillitis starts with a diagnosis. Diagnosis is based on the physical examination of our throat. A doctor may also take a throat culture by gently swabbing the back of the throat. The culture will be sent to a laboratory to identify the bacteria causing the throat infection.

A doctor may require some tests to find the causes of tonsillitis or the type of tonsillitis. They are as follows:

  1. A throat swab:

A doctor will examine our saliva and throat cells for strep bacteria. They'll clean the back of our throat using a cotton swab. This may be unpleasant, but it will not harm. Typically, results are ready in 10 to 15 minutes.

  1. Rash:

The doctor will examine us for scarlatina, a rash associated with a strep throat infection.

  1. Blood Test:

A complete blood cell count (CBC) checks for high and low blood cell counts to determine whether a virus or bacteria caused tonsillitis.

Treatment of Tonsillitis

A minor case of tonsillitis does not always demand treatment, especially if a virus causes it. Good rest and remaining well hydrated are treatments of choice in such cases. Painkiller medicines can be added to relieve throat pain.

The treatment of tonsillitis includes the following:


If the cause of our tonsillitis is a bacterial infection, the doctor will order antibiotics. The most popular antibiotic treatment for tonsillitis caused by group A streptococcus is penicillin, administered orally for ten days. The doctor will order an alternative antibiotic if our child is allergic to penicillin.

Surgical Management Of Tonsillitis

The surgery for tonsillitis is known as tonsillectomy. In tonsillectomy, we use some instruments in which Radiofrequency & coblator have pretty good results. Because of these, patients feel less pain after surgery and bleeding during surgery is also very less.

If removed from the body, tonsils do not affect or create any deficiency in the body. If we have frequent throat problems after having cold or sour food, the advice would be to consult and discuss with a nearby ENT surgeon.

At-Home Treatment

  1. Rest as much as possible to speed up the recovery process.
  2. By adding moisture to the air, keeping our humidifier on while we sleep can help prevent dry air from irritating our throats further.
  3. To relieve the discomfort of tonsillitis, use throat lozenges to calm a sore throat.
  4. Raw honey has anti-inflammatory effects, and drinking tea with honey will ease our symptoms of tonsillitis.

Prevention Of Tonsillitis

The easiest way to prevention of tonsillitis is to practise good hygiene, which includes:

  1. Handwashing frequently
  2. Not sharing food, drink, utensils, or personal goods like toothbrushes
  3. Avoiding those who have a sore throat or tonsillitis

Vaccination can also help prevent certain types of tonsillitis. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek prompt medical attention if one has symptoms of tonsillitis.

To ensure the best prevention measures, book an appointment today. At Gleneagles Aware Hospital in L.B. Nagar, you can find top-rated doctors and specialists who can diagnose and treat Tonsillitis effectively.

Delivering exceptional healthcare is a way of life at the best ENT Hospital in Hyderabad, Gleneagles Aware Hospital, Hyderabad. Contact us today.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs):

What should we not do when afflicted with tonsillitis?

Eating hard or biting foods can be uncomfortable and even painful for persons suffering from symptoms of tonsillitis. Hard foods can scratch the throat, causing irritation and inflammation.

How long does tonsillitis last?

Symptoms normally disappear after 3 to 4 days. Tonsillitis is not communicable. However, most infections cause it, such as colds and flu.

Is tonsilitis a serious condition?

Most cases of viral tonsillitis resolve within a few days with fluids and rest. Antibiotics typically cure bacterial tonsillitis (strep throat) in 10 days. However, rarely does it cause major or long-term health consequences.


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