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Tonsillitis Specialist

Advantage ENT & Audiology

Otolaryngology & Audiology located in Arvada, CO & Westminster, CO

An extremely sore, swollen throat is the primary symptom of tonsillitis and can sometimes become a chronic or recurring problem. If you or your child is struggling with persistent tonsillitis, the team at Advantage ENT can help. At their offices in Arvada, the northern part of Westminster, and Wheat Ridge, Colorado, the board-certified otolaryngologists offer expert therapies for tonsillitis and minimally invasive surgery for treatment-resistant cases. For relief from painful tonsillitis, call the Advantage ENT office nearest you or request an appointment online today.

Tonsillitis Q & A

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a painful throat infection that's particularly common in children. It affects the tonsils, a pair of tissue masses in the back of your throat, which are part of your immune system.

When your tonsils are healthy, they help trap bacteria and other microorganisms to stop them from entering your body and causing infection. Sometimes, the tonsils themselves become infected, resulting in the inflammation, swelling, and pain of tonsillitis.

Why would I get tonsillitis?

The most likely cause of tonsillitis is infection with streptococcus (strep) bacteria. Several viral infections can also trigger tonsillitis, including:

  • Influenza virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Parainfluenza viruses
  • Enteroviruses
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Adenoviruses

Most people who get tonsillitis find their throat heals without intervention, much as it would if you had a cold. For others, tonsillitis can become a chronic or recurring problem where their tonsils are persistently sore and swollen.

What symptoms does tonsillitis cause?

Throat pain, soreness, and inflammation are the primary symptoms of tonsillitis. Your tonsils may become more visibly red and swollen, and there might be yellow or white spots, blisters, or ulcers on them. Other possible tonsillitis symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Ear pain and sensitivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Fever
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loss of appetite

Some children who have tonsillitis also get abdominal pain and may suffer from nausea and vomiting.

How is tonsillitis treated?

You could use throat sweets containing an anesthetic like benzocaine and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease tonsillitis pain. Other self-care measures for tonsillitis include:

  • Rest
  • Drinking warm or ice-cold fluids
  • Eating soft foods
  • Gargling with salt water
  • Using a humidifier to keep the air moist

Before prescribing antibiotics for tonsillitis, the Advantage ENT team checks whether the cause is viral or bacterial.

Antibiotics do not affect viruses, so they're only worth prescribing if you have bacterial tonsillitis. Your provider can test for this by doing a rapid strep test or throat swab using cells from the back of your throat.

Will I need to have a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy (surgery to remove your tonsils) is usually unnecessary as tonsillitis heals without a problem in most people.

Surgery might be advisable if you have chronic or recurring tonsillitis or the tonsils become so swollen they affect your ability to breathe or swallow normally.

If you or your child are having repeated bouts of tonsillitis, you can benefit from expert treatment at Advantage ENT. Call or request an appointment online today.