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Tried various home remedies for a sore throat or bad breath but nothing seems to work? Medicines are also not providing relief? Does this problem occur quite often such that it brings your daily life to a standstill? Then it’s time to visit an ENT doctor as these all could be symptoms of tonsillitis

Tonsillitis itself is not contagious in nature but the microorganisms that cause this infection are. The most common microorganisms that result in inflammation of tonsils are viruses and bacteria. So, it makes sense to know about both these pathogens causing tonsils, to slow down their spread. 

Causes of tonsillitis- Viral or bacterial

Viral Tonsillitis

The most common cause of tonsillitis is viral. Almost 90 percent of tonsillitis cases are due to viruses that cause the common cold. Not only this type of viruses can lead to inflammation of the tonsils but there are other types as well. Some of them are-

  • Rhinovirus
  • Adenovirus 
  • Coronavirus 
  • Enterovirus 
  • Cytomegalovirus 
  • Measles virus
  • Herpes simplex virus 
  • Epstein- Barr virus
  • Hepatitis A
  • HIV 

Viral tonsillitis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is more prevalent among young adults and teens. 

Bacterial tonsillitis 

Another cause of tonsillitis is bacteria. Almost 15-30 percent of tonsillitis is caused by bacteria. The most common bacteria that causes tonsillitis is group A Streptococcus. Other bacteria that can cause tonsillitis are-

  • Staphylococcus aureus 
  • Chlamydia pneumonia
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae 

Also Read: Types of Tonsils: Pictures, Diagnosis, and Home Remedies

How to differentiate between bacterial or viral tonsillitis?

To identify virus causing tonsillitis

 Here are the 3 most visible symptoms to look out for viral tonsillitis-

Look out for a runny nose

The first symptom a person with tonsillitis develops is a runny or stuffy nose. You can also develop a fever with a temperature of around 100.4 degrees F. In addition to this, there is a general feeling of unwellness. 

Consider cough as a symptom

There can be other reasons for having a cough but it is more associated with a viral infection. It is more likely that you have a cough or husky voice due to laryngitis, but this could be due to viral tonsillitis. 

Check for symptoms of tonsillitis

The symptoms of viral tonsillitis tend to cure faster than bacterial tonsillitis. Viral tonsillitis symptoms improve within three to four days. This is not a guaranteed identifier as viral tonsillitis can even last up to two weeks. 

Look out for constant fatigue

A person suffering from viral tonsillitis due to EBV feels constant fatigue. This can last for weeks and other symptoms are sore throat, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits. 

You have a rash on the roof of the mouth 

Some people with viral tonsillitis can also develop a pinpoint red, speckled rash on the roof of the mouth. There can also be a grey covering over your tonsils. 

To identify bacterial tonsillitis

Feel the neck for swollen lymph nodes

If you can feel a tender lump in your neck, this could indicate a bacterial infection. Although any infection in the throat can lead to a swollen lymph node, the chances are high that this could be due to bacterial tonsillitis. 

Check for white spots

This is the most common symptom of bacterial tonsillitis- white spots on the throat. You can check for these symptoms by simply opening your mouth in front of a mirror. 

Look out for ear infection

In very rare cases, bacteria from a throat infection can spread to the middle ear and cause an infection. Hence, this can also be a sign you can look out for. 

See an abscess in the tonsil

When bacterial tonsillitis is left untreated for a while, this can lead to a peritonsillar abscess. This abscess is full of pus that leads to difficulty while opening the mouth or change in voice. 

Treatment of Viral and Bacterial Tonsillitis

No matter if you have developed viral or bacterial tonsillitis, the treatment remains almost the same. Some of them are discussed below-

Home remedies for Tonsillitis

Some of the tips that can help get relief from tonsillitis instantly are-

  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Taking enough rest
  • Gargling with warm water
  • Taking throat lozenges
  • Eating cold or frozen food
  • Keeping the surrounding area moist
  • Avoiding smoke
  • For bacterial tonsillitis, antibiotics can work.

Surgery for recurrent tonsil infections

The surgical treatment option is recommended by ENT doctors when-

  • Tonsillitis occurs regularly  and affects the breath
  • The condition gets complicated to peritonsillar abscess 

Viral or bacterial tonsillitis is contagious in nature. Tonsillectomy is the best option to cure recurrent or chronic tonsillitis. 

Tonsillectomy is the most effective treatment option one can opt for. This procedure at Pristyn Care is the fastest option for tonsillitis patients looking for a permanent cure. Want to know more about tonsillectomies? Contact us today!

Also Read:

Pristyn Care Provides Best Tonsillectomy Surgery in:


How long does it take to recover after a tonsillectomy?

The time to recover after tonsillectomy depends on patient's immune system. Generally, after the surgery for the removal of tonsils, you will be able to recover within 2-5 days.

Every season, I suffer from throat pain and fever. Why?

When the seasons are changing, there are various viruses and bacteria in the air. When you inhale them, this can cause infection of the tonsils and eventually cause symptoms such as sore pain, fever, difficulty in swallowing, etc.

What to eat when suffering from bacterial or viral tonsillitis?

When someone is suffering from bacterial or viral tonsillitis, you should eat soft foods such as mashed potatoes, noodles, scrambled eggs, bananas, smoothies.

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