Bacterial Tonsillitis Symptoms and Causes

Updated on 09 Jun 2009,
Published on 03 Jun 2009

Tonsillitis occurs in early childhood. It is a condition in which the tonsils become inflamed, as the immune system tries to fight against the invading virus and bacteria. In most of the cases, tonsillitis is caused by viral infection and thus it is infectious and spreads like any other common disease. Like the viral tonsillitis, bacterial tonsillitis is also infectious and can be easily spread through direct contact like sneezing, coughing, respiratory secretions etc.

The general symptoms of both viral tonsillitis and bacterial tonsillitis are almost the same except for some minor differences. Some of the causes of bacterial tonsillitis may include

1) Streptoccal or hemophilus bacteria.

2) Adenovirus or Epstein-Barr virus, which also causes mononucleosis

3) Diphtheria, a serious disease, produces a false membrane in the throat. It can however be prevented by the DPT vaccine

Clinically, the difference between viral and bacterial tonsillitis is that in the former you will only see that the tonsils are congested whereas in the latter, you can see changes in the tonsil like follicles, pus, larger crypts, etc. The major difference between viral tonsillitis and bacterial tonsillitis lies in the procedure of their treatments. Unlike the viral infection, which resolves on its own, a 24 hour dose of antibiotics can make the tonsillitis no more contagious.

Tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria if left untreated may last for about 2 weeks. Though tonsillitis caused by bacteria may not require treatment but if it is caused by strep bacteria then it is best treated with antibiotics. As a strep throat if not treated well in time can lead to serious complications. Though bacterial tonsillitis may be treated using antibiotics in a week’s time but the swollen glands and tonsils will take a longer period to reduce to its original size.

Bacterial tonsillitis is often accompanied with bacterial pharyngitis. The best way to deal with this condition is to strengthen the immune system. Following a proper diet is a must. Persistent bacterial infection may lead to chronic pharyngeal infection and chronic tonsillitis as well. It is very normal for everyone of us to suffer from tonsillitis in our childhood but repeated attacks may lead to severe conditions which may even demand tonsillectomy.

Suggested Reading:
How contagious is tonsillitis
how long is tonsillitis contagious
benefits of tonsillectomy for tonsillitis
Swollen tonsils

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