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The tonsils are two clumps of tissue, on either side of the throat, embedded in a pocket at the side of the palate. They form a part in the body’s immune system. Tonsillitis is an inflammatory disease affecting the tonsils. This means that they get inflamed, and then further this causes various symptoms such as a sore throat or a fever. In tonsillitis, the tonsils are enlarged, red, and often coated (either partially or entirely) by a substance that is white, yellow, or, sometimes, gray. It happens mostly to children and young people, but it can affect people at any age.

Symptoms of this disease include: red or swollen tonsils, sore throat, fever, sore eyes, cough, white, or yellow patches on the tonsils, difficulty at swallowing, headache, stiffness in the neck, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, chills, chances in the voice of the person (the voice sounds scratchy or muffled), etc.

People in close contact with young children (teachers and parents), are more likely to contract this disease. It is easy for children, being surrounded by other children, and therefore exposed to various bacteria and viruses, to transfer it to adults. The infection is generally spread from person to person by airborne droplets, hand contact or kissing.

Causes of Tonsillitis in Adults

The most common causes of tonsillitis are the viruses that also cause the common cold, such as influenza, coronavirus, rhinovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, or herpes simplex virus, etc.

The other reason for tonsillitis may be bacterial. And the most common virus that can bring about this disease is Group A β-hemolytic streptococcus (which causes strep throat). Also, diphtheria, syphilis, and gonorrhea may be the underlined cause, but this happens very seldom.

Whether it be the bacterial or viral cause, the incubation period is usually about two or three days from picking the infection up and the actual disease first appearing in the form of some symptom.


Usually tonsillitis goes away on itself, but, it is advisable that he person affected consult a doctor, to avoid such complications as, for instance: dehydration, kidney failure, pharyngitis, blocked airways, rash, other, secondary infections (in the middle ear or sinuses), etc.

Treatment for tonsillitis depends on whether it was caused by a virus or bacteria. If it’s caused by a bacteria, the doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics, usually penicillin, or, if someone is allergic to it, another antibiotic, such as erythromycin. If, however, it was caused by a virus, it is usually treated with paracetamol or Aspirin (but this not for children under 16).

If someone suffers from repeated cases of tonsillitis, a tonsillectomy (an operation in which the tonsils are completely removed) may be preformed. However, this is rarely done.

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