How Long Does Tonsillitis Last?

How long does tonsillitis last? If you are suffering from tonsillitis, you are probably hoping the answer is ‘not long’! Unfortunately, recovery time can vary according to what has caused the illness. But looking on the positive side, at least you have a built in excuse to empty the freezer of Ben & Jerry’s Baked Alaska!

The tonsils are part of the body’s lymphatic system and are located in the throat. Most of the time you are probably unaware the tonsils even exist, but if you are unlucky enough to be struck down with tonsillitis, you will able to look in a mirror and see your red, swollen, tonsils covered in yellow puss-filled spots. Symptoms of tonsillitis include a really bad sore throat, swollen glands in the neck, headache, fever, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing.

There are two types of tonsillitis: viral and bacterial. Although they are caused by different things, both viral and bacterial tonsillitis are characterised by nasty symptoms and once you have suffered from a bout of tonsillitis, you are unlikely to be looking forward to the next bout.

Tonsillitis is spread by droplets in the air or by close contact with an infected person, for example kissing. Viral tonsillitis can easily be passed on through coughing and sneezing, so if your child is infected, make sure they wash their hands frequently and dispose of dirty tissues to avoid passing on the virus to other members of the family.

How long does tonsillitis last without antibiotics?

Viral tonsillitis is caused by many different infections, although common causes include influenza, laryngitis, croup, herpes simplex, and Epstein-Barr. As with any viral infection, the incubation period from initial infection to onset of the symptoms will vary a great deal, but once symptoms appear the immune system will fight the virus and you can expect the illness to only last a few days.

How long does tonsillitis last with antibiotics?

Bacterial tonsillitis is usually caused by the Streptococcus A bacterium and bacterial tonsillitis is otherwise known as Strep Throat. Symptoms of bacterial tonsillitis normally appear between two and seven days following infection. Once a course of antibiotics have been started, symptoms often subside after about five days, although some people remain afflicted for three to four weeks if the first course of antibiotics is ineffective.

How long does tonsillitis last in adults? Most adults fight off the viral effects of tonsillitis within a few days, but bacterial tonsillitis can last longer, especially if you do not start taking antibiotics as soon as the symptoms appear.

How long does tonsillitis last in children? Tonsillitis usually lasts less than a week and is a common childhood illness. Once upon a time, operations were routinely carried out to remove the tonsils in children who suffered from repeated outbreaks of tonsillitis. However, medical policy has now changed and this operation is not performed as frequently.

Tonsillitis can be diagnosed from a throat swab. This will help to determine whether the illness has been caused by a virus or a bacterial infection. If the cause is found to be bacterial, antibiotics will be prescribed, although you might be offered other medication to help alleviate the symptoms.

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