When the tonsils became inflamed and infected, it is known as a condition called tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis is common among children and adults who have not had their tonsils removed. There are a few different causes of tonsillitis, but Streptococcus is at the top of the list of bacteria that cause the tonsils to swell and become infected. The condition can also be caused by:

  • Influenza
  • The common cold virus


One of the first symptoms that you’ll usually experience is a sore throat. When you look at the tonsils, they will often appear dark red and swollen. There could also be small white areas on the tonsils as this is an indication that an infection is present. A fever is also a common symptom.

At times, the tonsils can become swollen to the point that they block the airway, making it difficult to breathe. You might experience a headache and a loss of appetite. It’s not unusual to have pain in the ears from the drainage and infection associated with the infection present. It can also be painful to swallow foods and beverages. However, it’s important to drink as much as possible to prevent dehydration. The glands in the neck can become swollen as the body tries to combat the infection. Children could have symptoms similar to a stomach virus, such as nausea and vomiting.

How Is Tonsillitis Treated?

Once a doctor confirms that the tonsils are infected, the common treatment is the removal of the tonsils, especially after several rounds of an infection being present. In order to diagnose tonsillitis, a doctor will use a long stick with a cotton swab on the end to get a culture from the tonsils. This is usually painless, and the test results will often be available in less than an hour. An antibiotic is usually ordered, as well as pain medication if the symptoms are severe.

If there is no bacteria present, then the condition is usually treated as a virus. Any medications should be taken until they are gone. In most cases, you will begin to feel better before the treatment is completed, but it’s important to finish everything that you have so that the infection doesn’t develop again.

Along with medications, you can drink warm liquids and use a warm compress on the throat. Consider using a vaporizer in the home to increase the amount of moisture present. You can also gargle with warm salt water to keep the mouth and throat clean.

Removing Tonsils

Removing the tonsils is often the last resort, but may be utilized if the tonsils remain swollen or if there are numerous infections that develop throughout the year. The tonsils are often removed if they impede your breathing as well. A tonsillectomy is usually performed at a young age as the recovery process is a bit easier for children than it is for adults. During the recovery from surgery, you should eat soft foods, such as ice cream or pudding, and get enough rest during the day so that the body has a chance to heal.