Tonsil Infection

A tonsil infection is also referred to as tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can happen to anyone at any age, and it is an inflammation of the tonsils (the lymph glands in the throat). Tonsillitis is typically caused from viruses or bacteria. Children occasionally get tonsil infections. Find out about the symptoms and solutions for a tonsil infection.

Causes and Concerns

Tonsillitis from bacteria and viruses occurs when the disease is transferred from person to person through the air, and it is highly contagious. In most cases, tonsillitis occurs from a viral source. Tonsillitis that is bacterial is often caused from Streptococcus bacteria (strep throat). This infection becomes a problem for the child if left untreated, as it leads to complications.

Symptoms and Signs

There are combinations of symptoms that occur with tonsillitis. The symptoms range from minor to severe, and the child can have just a couple symptoms or quite a few symptoms. These include:

  • Runny Nose
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Pain when Swallowing
  • White Patches on the Tonsils
  • Swollen Lymph Glands
  • Redness that appears on the Throat and Tonsils
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Solutions and Options

If you suspect that your child has tonsillitis, it is important to get it checked out by a pediatric throat specialist. The doctor will conduct a physical examination to verify whether or not the child has a tonsil infection. Since tonsillitis is contagious, it is important to seek medical care immediately. A doctor will diagnose tonsillitis based on the following:

  • Redness, swelling, discharge, or swollen glands
  • Inability to swallow, drooling, and muffled speech
  • Performing a swab test
  • Any abscesses on the tonsils

When treating tonsillitis at home, you can give the child over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil. These medicines will help with any associated fevers and throat pain. Gargling warm salt water in the back of your throat will also help ease the pain of your child’s sore throat. Treatment of tonsillitis medically is through antibiotics and sometimes even surgery. It is important to follow proper instructions for the medications and to give the correct dosage. If any abscesses form on the tonsils, the doctor may perform a procedure to drain this, open the airway, and to prevent infection. Surgical removal of the tonsils is required when a child has reoccurring tonsil infections in a given time period.

Tonsillitis can be prevented by following proper care. Encourage your child to wash his or her hands frequently to prevent the bacteria and viruses from spreading. If you know someone who has tonsillitis, it is recommended that you limit your interactions with them, as it can be spread through the air.

Also, it is essential to your child’s health to keep follow up appointments and checkups. Even if the symptoms go away completely, or you child feels perfectly fine, he or she must take all of the prescribed antibiotics. Once your child is on antibiotics, he or she is no longer contagious after 24 hours and can return to all normal activities. As with any other sickness, if your child starts to feel worse or the symptoms get worse, contact your doctor.


Tonsillitis should always be treated by a doctor who has experience with this type of infection. If you feel that your child’s symptoms are related to a tonsil infection, call one of our caring pediatric throat specialists. Through proper diagnosis and a good treatment plan, the doctor can help you find a solution for your child’s symptoms.