Tonsillitis is an infection of your tonsils, two masses of tissue at the back of your throat.
Your tonsils act as filters, trapping germs that could enter your airways and cause infection. They also make antibodies to fight infection. But sometimes, they get overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses. This can make them swollen and inflamed.
Tonsillitis can occur at any age and is a common childhood illness. It’s most often diagnosed in children from preschool age through their mid-teens.
Causes of Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is caused by either a viral or bacterial infection of the tonsils. Most cases of tonsillitis are caused by viruses. There are many different viruses that can cause tonsillitis, including
Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis),
measles virus, and
Bacterial tonsillitis is most often caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, the organism that causes strep throat.
Possible symptoms of tonsillitis include:
a very sore throat
Difficulty or pain when swallowing
A stiff neck
jaw and neck tenderness from swollen lymph nodes
tonsils that have white or yellow spot
Treatment Of Tonsilitis
Because most cases of tonsillitis are caused by viruses, your body will fight off the infection and the illness will run its course, antibiotics are not necessary. However, in people with bacterial tonsillitis, antibiotics are generally prescribed.
Tonsillitis may sometimes result in more serious complications. People should see a doctor if they experience new symptoms or if their original symptoms persist or become worse.
Is tonsillitis contagious?
Although tonsillitis is not contagious, the viruses and bacteria that cause it are contagious. Frequent handwasing and the use of sanitizer can help prevent spreading or catching the infections.