Bacterial tonsillitis: inflammation of tonsils due to bacteria

The bacterial tonsillitis is a disease that occurs when the tonsils are inflamed by bacteria usually occurs in children from 5 to 15 years, approximately, although we also have the case of adolescents and adults. We must differentiate it, yes, from the tonsillitis caused by viruses.

Bacterial tonsillitis arises from the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes It lives in the throat and nose for months without causing symptoms or damage, but it can be transmitted to other people.

Main symptoms of bacterial tonsillitis

Symptoms of bacterial tonsillitis include:

  • High fever. It is one of the common symptoms and, so you should go to the doctor immediately.
  • Sore throat that occurs quickly.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tonsils very inflamed and with pus, and this causes some pain.
  • Red appearance in the back of the throat.
  • White pus in the tonsils.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

Usually, bacterial tonsillitis appears in autumn and winter but it has nothing to do with the cold. It is important to emphasize that, in addition, the ear can be infected, as a consequence of the presence of bacteria. Well, from the throat, the bacteria go to the middle ear, which produces ear pain, hearing problems, balance problems, and / or fever.

Main causes of bacterial tonsillitis

The main cause of the appearance of this type of tonsillitis is the contagion of a person who has the bacteria to another by coughing, sneezing and nasal secretions, but not always caught by contagion.

In children, adolescents and adults, the main risk factors are produced by the appearance of the bacterium that can be contagious as we have indicated.

How is bacterial tonsillitis treated?

When we have the symptoms previously discussed, we should go to the medical center. Although bacterial tonsillitis can disappear in a few days without specific treatment, it is better for the doctor to check our condition and give us a treatment for its cure.

Initially, analgesics are usually recommended to relieve symptoms, but when symptoms persist, antibiotics are given. In 24 hours there is usually improvement and the throat pain decreases.

In any case, it is the doctor who should always recommend each treatment according to the case and the particular patient. We must always pay attention to the professionals, and not interrupt the treatment even if we notice improvements because we could make the disease not be cured and prolong it.

First of all, prevention

Many times, it is inevitable to have bacterial tonsillitis. But, one of the best ways to prevent it is to rest, eat properly, have good defenses, wash your hands frequently and have regular check-ups at the doctor's office.

Even so, it is easy to get infected with this bacterium because it usually spreads when you sneeze or cough, and when you are in close contact with people who are infected, when a large part of the time we do not know that they can have this bacteria.

Difference with viral tonsillitis

There are different differences between bacterial and viral tonsillitis. The second usually affects young children, who are infected by the first contact with others in the nursery and childhood centers.

On the other hand, in the bacterial it is necessary to use antibiotics for their treatment, while in the viral one, and the symptoms also vary when we talk about one or the other case.

Specifically, viral tonsillitis is a throat infection that has plaques and severe pain in the throat, in addition to fever, (not very high, as in bacterial tonsillitis) and symptoms of cough, mucus and / or conjunctivitis.

The tonsillitis product of a virus disappears or at least it begins to improve in the course of three or four days, but the bacterial tonsillitis can last much longer or not improve until the proper medical treatment is received.


Although with good treatment, bacterial tonsillitis is treated and offers improvement and definitive cure, this disease is not without complications.

The problems can include from the appearance of abscesses (peritonsillar, retropharyngeal or parapharyngeal), scarlet fever, acute glomerulonephritis, and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. REFERENCES

  • Diagnosis of Streptococcal Pharyngitis. Am Fam Physician. 2014; 89 (12): 976-977. PMID: 25162166
  • Different antibiotic treatments for group A streptococcal pharyngitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Sep 11; 9: CD004406. PMID: 27614728
This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor. ThemesRespiratory infections

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