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.


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.