What causes tonsillitis in children?

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Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics

Tonsillitis is an infection or inflammation of the tonsils which is usually caused by a bacteria or virus. Sometimes streptococcus pyogenes,"Strep", is the bacterial cause of tonsillitis. Adenovirus and "Mononucleosis" (Epstein Barr) are two common viral causes. 

If you have tonsillitis, please see your doctor to make sure you do not have a bacterial cause and need antibiotics. If the infection is Strep, antibiotics are needed to protect from scarlet fever and rheumatic heart disease. If the infection is viral, antibiotics will not help and your body will fight the virus. Either way, make sure you get rest and good nutrition.

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.