At the back of your throat, two masses of tissue called tonsils act as filters, trapping germs that could otherwise enter your airways and cause infection. They also produce antibodies to fight infection. But sometimes the tonsils themselves become infected. Overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses, they swell and become inflamed, a condition known as tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is common, especially in children. The condition can occur occasionally or recur frequently.
Causes and Symptoms of Tonsillitis
The main symptoms of tonsillitis are inflammation and swelling of the tonsils, sometimes severe enough to block the airways. Other symptoms include: Throat pain or tenderness, redness of the tonsils, a white or yellow coating on the tonsils, painful blisters or ulcers on the throat, headache, loss of appetite, ear pain, fever among others. In children, symptoms may also include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Treatments for Tonsillitis
Treatment for tonsillitis will depend in part on the cause. To determine the cause, your doctor may perform a rapid strep test or throat swab culture. Both tests involve gently swabbing the back of the throat close to the tonsils with a cotton swab. A lab test can detect a bacterial infection. A viral infection will not show on the test, but may be assumed if the test for bacteria is negative. In some cases, the physical findings are convincing enough to diagnose a probable bacterial infection. In these cases, antibiotics may be prescribed without performing a rapid strep test
If tests reveal bacteria, treatment will consist of antibiotics to cure the infection.