The infection or inflammation of the tonsils is called tonsillitis. Tonsils are aggregated lymphoid tissue at the entrance of the GI tract (gastrointestinal tract ) and can be felt on the back of the throat.


The tonsils are lymphatic tissues and are part of the body’s defense mechanism to help protect our body from the pathogens that try to get inside the body while exhaling air or ingesting food. They provide initial protection and immunological barrier against any infections caused by viruses or bacteria. They make antibodies (immunological molecules ) to fight off infections. But in case of high pathogen exposure (bacteria or viruses), they cause inflammation, swelling and redness.

Tonsillitis is a common infection that affects children and occurs at least once in a while and may even come back again.

There are three types:

  • 1. Acute tonsillitis: It lasts 3 – 4 days but may take 2 weeks to get cured. Their cause is viral infections in most the cases
  • 2. Recurrent tonsillitis – Tonsillitis several times in a year.
  • 3. Chronic tonsillitis – A more prolonged tonsil infection for more than 2 weeks

Tonsillitis Symptoms

Symptoms of tonsillitis are 

  • 1. Fever
  • 2. Sore throat
  • 3. Inflammation in tonsils
  • 4. Swollen tonsils
  • 5. Difficulty swallowing
  • 6. Fatigue 
  • 7. Tiredness
  • 8. Loss of appetite
  • 9. Bad breath
  • 10. Stuffy nose


Treatment is done majorly to relieve symptoms and prevent significant complications. The following medications and treatment options can help in treating acute tonsillitis:

Medication to relieve pain and fever

  • 1. Ibuprofen 
  • 2. Acetaminophen (paracetamol) – 
  • 3. Throat lozenges

Home Remedies

  • 1. Neck wrap
  • 2. Gargle with salt water 
  • 3. Herbal tea

To restrict bacterial growth and kill bacteria

  • 1. Antibiotics 
  • 2. Surgical removal of tonsils

How to Cure Tonsillitis in 4 Hours?

Proper Rest

Resting gives time to the body and helps you forget about the pain in the throat. It is a way to preserve energy to fight off infections.

Keeping the body hydrated

Drinking water or fluids helps prevent throat drying and difficulty swallowing. When the body is busy fighting infections, adequate hydration is a must. Warm drinks help sooth the throat. 

Gargle with slightly warm water containing salt

Gargling with warm water containing salt help sooth pain and sore throat due to tonsillitis.

Prepare the water for gargling by stirring half a teaspoon of salt with warm water. Gargle with the prepared solution thoroughly for several times seconds. Rinse mouth using regular water.

Take Medical Lozenges

Lozenges have licorice ingredients to help soothe the throat and deal with inflammation. 

Use air humidifiers

Dry air cause irritation in the throat. Steamy bathrooms or rooms with air humidifiers help alleviate irritation in the throat.

Avoid irritants

Avoid certain places with a lot of throat irritants like smoky locations and tobacco. 

Warm Tea and Honey

Mixing two tablespoons of natural honey in tea or warm water and stirring them well before consumption help with a sore throat. The patient can take a drink several times a day.

Tonsillitis Antibiotics

If bacteria is the causative agent of tonsillitis, the doctor prescribes antibiotics along with painkillers. Usually, penicillin is taken orally (by mouth) for 10 days. 

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Tonsillitis is not infectious or contagious. But the reason for the infections (like colds and flu) that lead to tonsillitis is contagious. 

Viral tonsillitis

Viral tonsillitis is caused by viruses like influenza, causing flu and cold. The virus is the causative agent of almost 70% of tonsillitis conditions.

Bacterial tonsillitis

Bacterial tonsillitis is mainly caused by streptococcus bacteria that affect the throat. Tiny droplets resulting from the sneeze or cough of the infected individual spread into the air. The infection also spreads by touching contaminated surfaces.

Tonsillitis vs. strep throat

Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils, and strep throat is the specific bacterial infection in the throat. Strep throat affects tonsils as well, thus causing tonsillitis (tonsil inflammation) at the same time.

How To Cure Tonsillitis Fast using natural home remedies?

To cure tonsillitis fast with natural remedies:

  • 1. Drink fluids in enough quantities
  • 2. Have rest.
  • 3. Gargle several times with warm salt water 
  • 4. Use throat lozenges.
  • 5. Eat ice popsicles or frozen foods.
  • 6. Use an air humidifier for moist air
  • 7. Avoid any smoke.
  • 8. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cold water suitable for tonsillitis?

Cold water is not preferred if there is inflammation in the tonsils. Relatively warm water or tea is helpful with throat soothing. Cold water or drinks may help in temporarily numbing the throat. Ice blocks or ice cream do not worsen the condition. It is just a myth that they increase mucus production; it can only thicken the mucus.

Cold intake is an effective way of numbing or treating pain and inflammation in tonsillitis. Ice popsicles, frozen drinks and foods might be helpful with children.

Is White on tonsils normal?

White substances spotted on tonsils are not typical, but the pus indicates bacterial infections (for example, strep throat). White spots may occur in case of viral infections (like cytomegalovirus). 

What measures can be taken to prevent tonsillitis?

Various measures can be taken to prevent tonsillitis or inflammation in the tonsils are:

  • Maintain good hygienic conditions in the surroundings 
  • Washing hands after every activity that involves touching contaminated objects 
  • Do not share food and drinks with the infected person.
  • Use fresh utensils and change your toothbrush often
  • Keep distance from infected individuals (having sore throat )

What complications may arise in case of bacterial infections?

  • Pus around the tonsils 
  • Middle ear infection
  • Breathing problems 
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – breathing problem while sleeping.

What are the factors that increase the risk of tonsillitis?


Age is a significant factor affecting tonsillitis, as children are at greater risk of getting tonsillitis. Adults have a comparatively lower risk of getting infections that lead to tonsillitis. Kids between 5 -15 years are at greater risk of getting bacterial infections leading to tonsillitis. Tonsillitis due to viral infections occurs primarily in younger children. Elderly adults also have more chances of getting affected due to low immunity. 

Exposure to germs

Children or kids spend a lot of time in school or similar camps and quickly get germ exposure. Many children at places make it easier to spread infections leading to tonsillitis. Adults ( like teachers ) who spend a lot of time with young children are likely to get infections and tonsillitis.

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