Healthy Living

Causes and Symptoms of Tonsillitis

Causes and Symptoms of Tonsillitis

Key Takeaways

Tonsillitis is a common condition that typically affects children and teenagers. It is not contagious, but the viruses and bacteria that cause it are.

If you look into the back of your throat, you will see two oval-shaped pads of tissue. These are the tonsils, and there is one located on each side of the throat. When the tonsils become inflamed, a condition called tonsillitis occurs.

 What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is usually caused by viral infections. It can occur at any age but is most common in children and teenagers. Tonsillitis is most often diagnosed from preschool age to mid-teenage years.

There are two types of tonsillitis: recurrent and chronic tonsillitis. Recurrent tonsillitis is having multiple short episodes of tonsillitis each year while chronic tonsillitis typically involves episodes that last longer. 

The tonsils are responsible in fighting germs and act as a barrier against infection. When the tonsils are infected, the tonsils will isolate the infection and stop it from spreading further. This is especially important in young children whose immune systems have not fully developed yet. As children grow older, their immune system gets stronger, and the tonsils become less important.

Most people can fight infection even without the help of the tonsils. In more severe cases, tonsils may be removed (tonsillectomy) if a person experiences repeated tonsillitis or severe tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis is not a contagious condition, but the agents that cause it can be contagious. It can easily be