Tonsilitis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Tonsilitis?

Tonsillitis is the infection of tonsils due to a viral infection and less commonly bacterial. Tonsils are two masses of soft glandular tissue present on either side at the back of the throat which act as filters, by preventing the germs to enter the airways and cause infection.
It is very common in children and sometimes in adults
Tonsillitis overview

Recovery Time

Most of the children get better within a week. A small number of children and adults have tonsillitis for a long time or it keeps coming back. This is known as chronic tonsillitis and may require surgery.
Recovery time depends on the cause – if severe or if the doctor suggests take antibiotics.   

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils by virus or bacteria. Tonsils are the aggregation of the lymphoid tissue inside the throat. They form the first line of defence for viruses and bacteria entering the body orally/ nasally.  It is called Strep throat if infection is caused by certain type of streptococcus bacteria.

Q2.  How do I get Tonsillitis?
You can get tonsillitis if bacteria enter the body through nose or mouth. If the lymphoid tissue in the tonsils fails to clear them, then it leads to infection.

Q3.  What is the treatment for Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is managed conservatively with anti-inflammatories, analgesics and  warm salt water gargles.  Antibiotics are prescribed if bacterial infection is suspected.

Q4.  How long does it take to cure?
Tonsillitis usually resolves within a week of treatment. Severe bacterial tonsillitis with follicles would require antibiotic treatment.

Q5.  How do I prevent Tonsillitis?
You can prevent tonsillitis by avoiding exposure to cold and dust. Do warm salt water gargles to keep the throat clean, Wear mask if exposure is unavoidable.  Maintain clean eating habits.

Q6.  What are the complications of Tonsillitis?
Bacterial tonsillitis with streptococcus if not treated early leads to a late complication of rheumatic fever, in which the antibodies attack the valves of heart or the kidneys.
Acute complications include blockage of airways and spread of infection causing peritonsillar abscess (quincy), which would require surgical intervention.

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