What are the Symptoms of Tonsillitis?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 26 May 2019
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Mostly associated with children, tonsillitis is a condition in which the tonsils are infected, and is most often characterized by a sore throat. Symptoms may appear out of the blue or come on steadily. In appearance, symptoms of tonsillitis include red and swollen tonsils. Portions of the tonsils may be covered with a gray or yellow coating. Also, the region around the throat may also be red or swollen as the lymph nodes increase in size in order to ward off the infection.

Babies and youngsters with tonsillitis will often drool as they have trouble swallowing. Also, young children will have difficulty eating. Since young children are unable to verbalize how they feel, the youngsters will display their frustration through being overly fussy. At night, youngsters may also display symptoms of snoring and bed wetting.

If a child is able to verbalize, she may complain of an earache or stomachache. In addition she may complain of general aches or a headache. A child may have tonsillitis if she has a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius).

While most common in children, a person of any age may display symptoms of tonsillitis. In adults, the condition may be caused by not eating a healthy diet and adults may exhibit many of the same signs as children. Symptoms in adults may also be displayed in the form of insomnia or disturbed sleep.


Symptoms of tonsillitis in adults may also be more serious. Commonly, adults with tonsillitis will develop otitis media, an infection of the middle ear that happens as a result of the infection spreading. Another symptom in adults includes rheumatic fever. As the bacteria spreads, organs, including the heart, can become infected.

Less common symptoms of tonsillitis may appear in both children and adults. Unusual symptoms can include throwing up, feeling constipated, and having an extremely rough tongue. Other rare indicators may include bad breath and trouble opening one's mouth.

The infection can be brought about by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms may vary, depending on the cause. A person with tonsillitis triggered by a virus may display flu-like symptoms including a running nose and general aches. Symptoms may develop gradually if the infection is the result of a virus.

A person with tonsillitis that originates from a bacteria will display more immediate symptoms. Indicators of tonsillitis caused by bacteria includes a skin rash and red face. A high fever that breaks out quickly may be another indication of tonsillitis.


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