Call your doctor if any of the
- Sore throat, along with any two of these signs
of bacterial infection:
- Fever of
- White or yellow coating on the tonsils
lymph nodes in the neck
- Abdominal (belly)
pain and headache
- Severe pain
- Severe difficulty
- Pain on only one side of the throat
- Tonsillitis or sore throat that starts
after being exposed to someone who has
- Five episodes of tonsillitis
in a year despite treatment.
- Persistent mouth-breathing, snoring,
or a very nasal- or muffled-sounding voice.
- Signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth and tongue and urinating less than
Watchful waiting is a period of time during
which you and your doctor observe your or your child's symptoms or condition
without using medical treatment. Watchful waiting is appropriate if tonsillitis
occurs along with cold symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing,
and coughing. Tonsillitis with these symptoms is most often caused by a virus.
Viral infection of the tonsils can be treated at home and usually goes away
without treatment within 2 weeks. In general, the more like a cold the
condition is, the less likely it is that the condition is caused by the strep
Watchful waiting is not appropriate if tonsillitis
occurs with fever of
or higher or
with swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and without symptoms of an
upper respiratory tract infection. If these symptoms
occur together, see a doctor. You may have strep throat, which should be
Who To See
The following health professionals can evaluate
tonsillitis, perform quick tests or throat cultures, and prescribe antibiotic
treatment if needed:
If surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is
indicated, you may be referred to an
otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat, or ENT,
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Thanks for your feedback.
38 of 41 found this helpful
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
© 1995-2011 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.