Is Tonsilitis Contagious ?

Tonsillitis, or acute inflammation of the tonsils, is primarily a children’s disease. It occurs occasionally in adults. The symptoms are very similar to those of influenza, or flu. If you feel ill, and have a sore throat, a headache, and chills and fever, examine your throat. That is the reason why your doctor examine your throat when you visit him with fever. If the tonsils are red and inflamed and seem larger than usual, you probably have tonsillitis. Another common symptom is swelling and tenderness of the surrounding infected area. Check the glands in the neck and under the jaw.


The tonsils: The tonsils are glandular swellings at either side of the throat that help to trap and destroy micro-organisms. If they become swollen and inflamed in the process, you have tonsillitis. Tonsils are very small at birth. They enlarge gradually, and reach maximum size at age six or seven. Thereafter they usually shrink, but they do not disappear as the adenoids do.


Soreness in the back of the throat may be due to tonsillitis, pharyngitis or part of a more generalized respiratory infection, such as influenza. Tonsillitis is due to viral or bacterial infections.  So this simply answer the question “Is tonsillitis contagious?” as infections in upper respiratory tract are highly infective.

Virtually every child has one or more attacks of tonsillitis. Those who get frequent attacks usually begin to get fewer after the age of seven as resistance develops to the infectious agents that cause the disorder. Even though tonsillitis is highly transmittable if you are an adult or grown up child, you may be safe  despite being in close contact with someone who is having tonsillitis.

If you do not see white spots in tonsils or tonsils are swollen over the opening of the throat, call your physician.  If the tonsils are just red you can try following self-help measures.Tonsillitis

  • The child should be kept indoors, but not necessarily in bed, in a warm – not overheated-room. Avoiding school or nursery will prevent its spread to other kids.
  • Use medications to control the symptoms. Eg: Acetaminophen for fever and pain in the throat.
  • Plenty of drinks will relieve the symptoms. The fluids should be sipped regularly.
  • Do not force the child to eat or drink. There is no harm in cold desserts such as ice cream to cool the throat.
  • A cooling fan, or frequent sponging of the face with tepid water, helps to reduce the child’s temperature.

In most cases, children with tonsillitis respond quickly to this self-help treatment. In some cases child may need antibiotics (Control the bacterial infection). In that case your doctor will prescribe antibiotics which can kill the bacteria causing tonsillitis.  Even if the child seems to be completely well, however, be sure to use the entire prescription according to your physician’s instructions.

If tonsillitis attacks are so severe and frequent that they affect the child’s general health or interfere with  schooling, hearing, or breathing, surgical removal of the tonsillitis may be advised. Even though child under goes this surgery it will be vital to keep them away from contacting patients with tonsillitis or upper respiratory infections as they still can develop infections in the pharynx, adenoids – or simply in the respiratory tract.

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