Sore throat

Updated 24 August 2016

Preventing tonsilitis

Tonsillitis is highly contagious and to decrease your odds of catching the disease, stay away from people who have active infections.

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In the past, the tonsils and adenoids were frequently removed during childhood as a preventive measure. Nowadays, doctors are only willing to recommend surgery in serious cases, as described below.

When to see a doctor

You should seek professional medical attention if:

  • A child has symptoms of acute tonsillitis, as listed above.
  • In addition to tonsillitis symptoms, the child begins drooling or experiences trouble breathing. This may be a sign of a tonsillar abscess.
  • The child breathes with difficulty at night, or breathes noisily. This can indicate large, overgrown tonsils and adenoids.
  • The child has episodes of sleep apnoea.
  • The child has fever or pain that is not helped by taking antibiotics, and the tonsils have yellowish-white spots or a discharge. These may be signs of mononucleosis or some other viral infection.

Read more:

Treating tonsillitis  

Symptoms of tonsillitis  

Causes of tonsillitis 

Reviewed by Prof Eugene Weinberg, Paediatrician Health24, February 2015.