If you think you might have tonsillitis, find out what you should do to treat your sore throat.

You’ve been dealing with an unpleasant sore throat, but are your symptoms just that or could you be dealing with tonsillitis? Your tonsils, which sit on the back of your throat, are designed to stop germs from getting into your body. Unfortunately, even tonsils can develop an infection despite all their best efforts to stop them. As a result, the tonsils become inflamed. This is known as tonsillitis.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis often presents with swelling of the tonsils. If your tonsillitis is severe you may notice that the swelling is bad enough to block the passageways. Along with swelling you may also experience throat pain, pain when swallowing, sores on the throat, redness of the tonsils, fever, bad breath or a decrease in appetite. Children with tonsillitis may also experience abdominal discomfort, vomiting or nausea.

What causes this infection?

Bacterial (strep infections) and viral infections are the two main causes of this tonsil infection, but other conditions like the flu virus, adenovirus (respiratory infection) and Epstein-Barr virus may be to blame.

When should I see a doctor?

It’s time to call your otolaryngologist if you have a sore throat that occurs with at least two others symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, abdominal pain, a fever of 101 degrees F (or higher) or a white layer over the tonsils. You should also come in if you have severe throat pain or difficulty swallowing.

How is tonsillitis treated?

If you or your child’s symptoms are also accompanied by symptoms of a cold then most of the time the doctor will wait to see whether the condition clears on its own. A viral infection of the tonsils won’t respond to antibiotics; fortunately, your body can often get rid of the infection all on its own. Of course, rest, hydration and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage your symptoms and speed up your recovery time.

If a bacterial infection is to blame then you will need a round of antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Even if you are feeling better it’s important to take all of your medication and to follow instructions. Some patients may even need a second round of antibiotics in order to fully eliminate the infection.

If your symptoms are indicative of tonsillitis then it’s time you visited your otolaryngologist for the treatment you need and for ways to manage your symptoms.