Tonsillitis

What Is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of the tonsils, two pads of tissue on either side of the throat that stop germs from entering the body. Tonsillitis is typically caused by a virus, but it also can be the result of a bacterial infection. It usually lasts between three and seven days.

If you or your child have tonsillitis, our team at ENT Associates of Santa Barbara will determine and discuss the cause of your condition and your care options to help you make an informed, sound healthcare decision.

Otolaryngologist feeling a patient's neck checking for tonsillitis.

What Does Tonsillitis Look Like?

Tonsillitis causes the tonsils to become red and swollen, with white or yellow patches. Additional symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Tenderness in the lymph nodes or glands in the neck
  • Pain in the head, neck or stomach
  • Scratchy voice

Does My Child Have Tonsillitis?

Since young children may not be able to verbally describe how they feel, parents or guardians should keep an eye out for unusual drooling, loss of appetite or more fussiness than usual.

What Causes Tonsillitis?

The most common causes of tonsillitis are the viruses that result in the common cold or flu. Additional causes include group A streptococcus bacteria.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Treatment options for tonsillitis depends on what’s causing it, so it’s important to seek medical attention quickly. If your otolaryngologist determines your symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. If the infection is caused by a virus, you can take pain relievers, drink fluids and rest.

Surgery to remove the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy. Typically, this is only recommended if you have reoccurring cases of tonsillitis. If our provider determines that this is the best option for you, they’ll walk you through what to expect during the procedure, how to prepare for it and what aftercare will be like. If you or your child have symptoms of tonsillitis, get in touch with our office. We’ll provide treatment that will help alleviate your symptoms and get you back on track with your daily routine.

Call ENT Associates of Santa Barbara for more information or to schedule an appointment.

(805) 964-6926