How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

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Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Your doctor will diagnose tonsillitis by looking in your throat to see if the tonsils are red or swollen.  Sometimes a throat swab (culture) will be done to determine the cause of the infection.  Most offices have a lab that can do a rapid test of the culture within minutes.

At first, tonsillitis may just feel like a bad sore throat as your child might have with a cold or flu bug. A doctor is usually able to diagnose tonsillitis by first looking in your youngster's throat to see if the tonsils have become red and/or swollen. If a white coating or small white bumps are visible as well, that is another indication of tonsillitis. A painless test may be done where the doctor swabs the back of the throat in order to determine if the tonsillitis was a result of strep throat. Some blood tests may be in order if the throat culture for strep is negative in order to figure out the cause of the tonsillitis.

Continue Learning about Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Aside from strep throat, most sore throats caused by are contagious, viral throat infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics. The most common culprits of a viral throat infection include coxsackievirus, mononucleosis, and ...

the flu. Mononucleosis (mono) is a virus that causes symptoms that can last for weeks or months at a time. Viral throat infections are best treated with rest, liquids and other home remedies. If the sore throat causes you to have trouble breathing or a high fever, or results in spots in the back of your throat, call your doctor.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.