Fact Checked

The tonsils are part of the body that is responsible in fighting infections and these almond-shaped balls of tissue are located at the back of the mouth and on either side of the throat. The tonsils helps the immune system of the body fight off bacterial and viral infections before spreading to the respiratory tract and other parts of the body.

The tonsils have cells that trap any infection that enters the body, but the tonsils can get infected by the same germs that it fights off and when this happens, the tonsil will swell and become inflamed and even trigger discomfort and pain. The tonsils will have white spots which covers the coating of the surface which indicates that there is an infection.

An infected tonsil is known as tonsillitis which affects adults but it is more common in children, especially the school age children who are highly susceptible to this condition. Always bear in mind that tonsillitis can be acute and capable of recurring any time and can become chronic.

Common symptoms

There is difficulty when swallowing.
  • There is difficulty when swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils
  • The area found around the tonsils are inflamed and appears red in appearance
  • Headaches, fever and chills
  • Cold and cough
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • Changes in the voice and loss of voice
  • Bad breath
  • The jaw and the throat are tender when touched
  • Coating on the tonsils that is yellow or grey in color
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Redness of the eye

Severe symptoms

In case tonsillitis is not treated early, the symptoms can eventually progress to severe ones that can be difficult to properly manage.

  • Throat abscesses
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Bacterial pharyngitis
  • High fever
  • Presence of pus in the throat
  • There is excessive drooling among children
  • A rash around the throat

Common causes

  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Tonsillitis can also be caused by allergens from certain foods
  • Artificially colored sweets, additives used in processed foods, ice cream and preservatives can also cause tonsillitis.
  • Eating fatty and processed food as well as sugary foods can cause tonsillitis
  • Extreme cold and damp weather environment and changes in temperature can cause tonsillitis


  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen which helps lessen the inflammation and pain.
  • Gargle with salt and water mixture since it helps minimize the pain and swelling in the throat. Salt water helps clean the mouth and throat as well as prevents the condition from getting worse.

If the condition become worse, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor so that proper assessment can be carried out and start the suitable treatment.

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