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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils caused by infection with viruses or bacteria. Common symptoms include a sore throat, swollen tonsils and lymph nodes, fever and difficulty swallowing.
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
Common symptoms of tonsillitis include a sore throat, swollen tonsils and neck glands, fever and difficulty swallowing. Additional signs may include white patches inside the throat, pain in the ears and bad breath.
What causes tonsillitis?
In most cases, tonsillitis is caused by a virus, such as the cold or flu. However, it can also be caused by an infection of the throat with bacteria, particularly streptococcal bacteria.
Is tonsillitis contagious?
The viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis are spread by breathing in droplets of fluid that have been sneezed or coughed by an infected person.
How is tonsillitis diagnosed?
To diagnose tonsillitis, your doctor may look closely inside your throat, feel your neck, take your temperature and/or perform a throat swab.
How is tonsillitis treated?
Most cases of tonsillitis clear on their own within about a week without the need for antibiotics. Over-the-counter pain-relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (but not aspirin), saltwater gargles and soothing liquids or lozenges may be enough. …
Is surgery a treatment option for tonsillitis?
If you have recurrent tonsillitis, or enlarged tonsils which cause breathing difficulties or other issues, your doctor may refer you to discuss tonsil surgery with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
Can tonsillitis be prevented?
Avoiding contact with people who have symptoms of a cold, flu or sore throat may prevent tonsillitis. If contact cannot be completely avoided, regularly washing your hands and not sharing food, drinks or personal items with infected individuals may reduce the …
About this article
Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 10 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Votes: 247 (Click smiley face below left to rate)