What are the treatment options for tonsillitis?

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Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.  Penicillin is usually the most common antibiotic treatment for tonsillitis.  If you are allergic to penicillin,  another antibiotic will be prescribed.   If the tonsillitis is caused by a virus, the virus just needs to run its course.  Antibiotics are not prescribed for viral infections. 

Some home treatments can help with the recovery of tonsillitis:
- rest
- drink plenty of warm liquids
- suck on throat lozenges
- gargle with saltwater
- take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Tylenol for the fever and pain

Tonsillitis that develops from the simple cold virus just needs to run its course and will usually clear up in a little over a week. Treatment options include ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which will help treat the sore throat pain and any fever, but you should not give youngsters aspirin, which can cause a rare but dangerous condition known as Reye's syndrome. Warm drinks and throat lozenges or even ice pops may help with the sore throat. But a lot of rest is the key to fighting the infection and getting back to normal. Tonsillitis caused by strep throat or another bacterial infection will need antibiotics instead of over-the-counter medications to help treat the problem. A tonsillectomy may be in order if tonsillitis becomes a chronic problem.

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.