Tonsillitis is a disease in which the tonsils get infected and inflamed. Tonsils are the two masses of tissues that are found on either side of the back of the throat. They filter out germs to stop them from entering the airways and also produce antibodies to fight infection. Tonsillitis is most often caused by common viruses and bacteria such as Streptococcus pyogenes (the bacteria responsible for strep throat) and it is also contagious. Though, this disease can occur at any age it is most common in children as they are more vulnerable to virus and bacteria and frequently exposed to germs, like in school or day-care.  

Signs and symptoms due to tonsillitis include:

  • Sore throat

  • Red, swollen tonsils

  • While or yellow spots on tonsils

  • Fever, chills

  • Stiff neck

  • Bad breath

  • Difficulty in swallowing which is also painful

  • Hoarseness

  • Earaches

  • Stomach ache

  • Headache

  • Tenderness in jaw and neck

In very young children, who cannot describe their symptoms verbally, you may also notice:

  • Drooli​ng due to difficult or painful swallowing

  • Loss of appetite

  • Increased irritability

If you notice your child suffering from sore throat, pain while swallowing, or extreme weakness, it is best to consult a doctor at the Children's Hospital or Eye and ENT Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital. You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice your child having difficulty in breathing or drooling excessively, as the swollen tonsils may be blocking the airways.  
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.
​Initially, the doctor will examine your child’s throat using a lighted instrument and gently press your child’s neck to check for swollen tonsils. A throat swab can determine the bacteria causing tonsillitis. To take a throat culture, the doctor may gently rub a swab at the back of your child’s throat and send the collected secretion sample to the laboratory for testing.

Tonsillitis is a common ailment among children and one that is often easy to cure. Your child may not even require any medical treatments if the tonsillitis is caused by a virus. You can make your child comfortable at home by employing the following approaches:

  • Rest

  • Encourage increased fluid intake

  • Gargling with warm salt water numerous times a day

  • Using a humidifier to eliminate dry air

  • Offer throat lozenges for children over the age of four

  • Use over the counter medications for pain and fever

  • Keep the environment smoke free

If tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe a course of medications. Make sure that your child completes the course even if they do not have any more symptoms.

If your child suffers from repeated episodes of tonsillitis, he /she may need evaluation for surgery, called tonsillectomy to remove the tonsils. The surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis unless your child is very young or a complication occurs during surgery. It may take a week or two, for your child to recover from the surgery.    ​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.