What is tonsillitis?

Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils. The tonsils are two oval-shaped nodes in the back of the throat.  Most cases of tonsillitis are caused by bacterial infections.

Tonsillitis, which occurs mostly in children, is a swelling of the tonsils caused by infection. Located at the back of the throat, the tonsils are two oval lymph nodes that sit one on each side of the throat. When they become infected, either from a virus or a bacterial infection, the tonsils may become inflamed and enlarged, usually causing a very sore throat. If someone gets tonsillitis too often, surgery to take out the tonsils (a tonsillectomy) may be necessary. Tonsillitis is rare in adults.

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.

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.