Tonsillitis: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

What Is Tonsillitis? 

Tonsillitis is a common infection of the tonsils which are located at the back of the throat. Tonsillitis is particularly common in childhood, but teenagers, and adults, can also get it. Tonsillitis feels like flu, or a bad cold.

Tonsillitis symptoms

The main symptoms of tonsillitis, in adults, and children, are:

·      A sore throat

·      Difficulty swallowing

·      A high temperature of 38C, or above

·      Coughing

·      A headache

·      Feeling sick

·      Ear ache

·      Feeling tired

Sometimes symptoms are more extreme and include:

·      Swollen glands on the side of the neck which feel sore

·      White spots on and around the tonsil area

·      Bad breath

If you are suffering extreme symptoms, please call MyHealthcare Clinic on 0207 129 7909 to discuss whether you may need an appointment with one of our private GPs, who can advise you on a course of treatment.

Symptoms will usually go away after 3 to 4 days but in some cases the infection can last longer.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Tonsillitis is not contagious, but most of the infections that cause it are, for example, colds and flu.

To stop these infections spreading:

·      Stay off work, or keep your child at home, until you, or your child, feel better

·      When you cough or sneeze use tissues and then throw them away

·      Always wash your hands after sneezing, or coughing

What does tonsillitis look like?

Why might I need a GP appointment?

A doctor can usually tell it’s tonsillitis by asking about your symptoms and looking at the back of your throat, however, you may also need swab test to see if bacteria are causing your tonsillitis, and/or a blood test for glandular fever, if symptoms are severe, or prolonged.

Treatment will depend on what caused your tonsillitis – whether your tonsillitis is caused by a virus, which should clear up on its own, or whether it is caused by bacteria, in which case your MyHealthcare GP may prescribe antibiotics.