Do I Just Have a Sore Throat or is it Tonsillitis?

Woman with a sore throat on the couch concerned that it might be tonsillitis.

Everything from dry air to a cold to allergies or even tonsillitis can trigger the incredibly common symptom of a sore throat. Here’s the question: How do you know when it’s time to call us for an appointment or if you just need to turn your humidifier on?

Disregarding a sore throat caused by tonsillitis can result in significant complications. It’s a smart plan to get checked out if you suspect that your sore throat is being brought on by something other than dry air or allergies. Tonsillitis itself can have a number of causes.

Tonsillitis Symptoms

A sore throat won’t always mean you’re dealing with tonsillitis, but it is a rather consistent symptom. For most people, the confusion begins because a sore throat can be caused by any number of issues, from the common cold to allergies to strep throat. When the tonsils become inflamed and infected this causes tonsillitis.

The symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • Headache or stomach ache
  • Swollen, red tonsils (this can be seen by your doctor)
  • Fever
  • A sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck
  • A stiff neck or pain in the neck
  • Bad breath and painful swallowing
  • Tonsils covered by yellow or white patches

Because tonsillitis is not uncommon in children, it’s essential to closely observe how these symptoms might manifest in children. Children frequently cannot conceptualize or vocalize their discomfort. Refusal to eat and general fussiness are typical ways that tonsillitis shows up in children. Because of the pain of swallowing, children might drool more.

What Causes Tonsillitis?

Sore throat or tonsillitis? Your answer to this question may sound like this: for right now, just a sore throat. The reason for this is that tonsillitis can be the consequence of several things that cause a sore throat.

The story begins with the ordinary function of your tonsils. Your tonsils are your body’s first line of defense for bacteria and viruses that get into your body through your mouth. This can occasionally cause the tonsils to become infected.

Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria that causes strep throat, is a common bacterial cause of tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can also be caused by multiple viruses. Practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent tonsillitis. The development of tonsillitis will be limited when the spread of germs is lessened by frequently washing your hands, for example.

When Should You See Your Doctor For Tonsillitis?

Determining when to give us a call, or when it might be better to wait it out, can be challenging because sometimes tonsillitis starts out with different symptoms. White spots in the throat or swollen tonsils are normally undetectable by somebody looking into a bathroom mirror.

But you should definitely schedule an appointment if you have numerous or ongoing symptoms.

A general rule of thumb would be to come see us if have any of the following:

  • You notice pain or discomfort when you swallow.
  • More than 2 days pass and your sore throat doesn’t get any better.
  • Your sore throat is accompanied by a fever.

And, obviously, you should get immediate emergency care if you are experiencing trouble breathing.

If you think that your child has tonsillitis and your child has been extremely weak or fussy, you should also consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor.

Tonsillitis Treatment

Removing the tonsils used to be a common procedure. However, this surgery is usually considered a last resort and will only be done in cases of repeated infections or when other therapies have not worked.

Because both bacteria and viruses can cause tonsillitis, it will be crucial to determine the correct path of treatment. It’s not unusual for antibiotics to be prescribed.

Antibiotics don’t treat viruses effectively so if they are causing your tonsillitis, fluids, bed rest, and symptomatic therapies will be the best course of action. Removing the tonsils might be considered if none of these therapies work.

Tonsillitis will require a medical diagnosis in order to begin successful treatment. So it’s important to figure out the accurate cause if your sore throat persists. Give us a call today to get to the bottom of your sore throat.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.