Tonsillitis – Symptoms and Treatments

Tonsils are two ovsl-shaped pads in the back of your throat. Sometimes they can become infected by a bacterial or virus infection.

There are two oval-shaped pads at the back of your throat, these are your tonsils. They help to filter germs and bacteria which can cause infections.

But sometimes your tonsils can be affected by a bacterial or viral infection and become inflamed.  This means they have stopped an infection from getting into your system. If you don’t have tonsils the body is still able to fight infection.  

What causes tonsillitis?

A common cause of tonsillitis is a viral infection rather than a less common bacterial infection.  If you have a bacterial infection, it will be caused by Streptococcus bacteria.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

If you have tonsillitis, you will have a sore throat and your tonsils will be inflamed. You might also have a headache, a cough, and an earache. Some people may also have a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or more.

How long does tonsillitis last?

The symptoms of tonsillitis will normally last 3 to 4 days. The infection isn’t contagious.

Can tonsillitis become serious?

There are rarely complications with tonsillitis. If there are complications it is usually caused by a bacterial infection that has spread to another part of the body.

One complication is a Middle Ear Infection which is known as Otitis Media. Fluid builds up between the eardrum and the inner ear which then becomes infected.

Another complication is Quinsy, which is an abscess that develops on the wall of the throat between the tonsils. It is filled with pus and is painful. It can cause a fever and you may have difficulty opening your mouth.

If the bacterial infection isn’t treated, then other rare complications can occur. These include:

  • Scarlet Fever – This is a bacterial infection that often affects children. It causes a red rash on the skin and a sore throat.
  • Rheumatic Fever – You can catch this after you have had a bacterial throat infection, but it is very rare. It can cause heart problems. You will need antibiotics to treat it.
  • Glomerulonephritis is an infection of the kidneys. It is diagnosed by a urine test. You may experience shortness of breath, painful joints, and tiredness.

How do I look after myself at home?

Take Ibuprofen or paracetamol to ease your throat. Drink plenty of water or other liquid and rest as much as you can.

How can my Pharmacy help me?

If you have a sore throat and you need an examination, you can visit your pharmacy rather than waiting to see your doctor. You will still have to make an appointment. At VSM Pharmacy you can pop in and make an appointment or give us a call on 01276 21002. The examination is free and is part of the new Pharmacy First Service.

When does a doctor decide that surgery is needed?

If you have chronic tonsillitis this means the infection doesn’t get better easily or keeps coming back. In this case, your doctor might recommend that you have your tonsils removed. These days you can have your tonsils taken out as a day patient. You’ll have the operation and go home on the same day.

After the operation, you will have a painful throat, but you can eat normally and take over-the-counter painkillers for the discomfort. It will normally take about two weeks to recover. Stay at home and get plenty of rest. Keep away from people who have coughs and colds.

Pop in and see us

Whether you just have a sore throat, or you have developed tonsillitis, VSM Pharmacy can give you the appropriate treatment through the Pharmacy First Service.


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