Tonsillitis can be difficult to distinguish from viral pharyngitis as both present with similar clinical symptoms.
Most patients do not seek medical help.
Most cases resolve spontaneously within a few days and do not require antibiotics, although analgaesia is recommended for symptom relief. Antibiotics are used to treat group A beta-haemolytic streptococcal infection that make up between 5% to 15% of cases of pharyngitis in adults and 15% to 30% of cases in children.
There is some evidence that tonsillectomy may be effective in selected children with recurrent severe acute tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils; specifically it is an infection of the parenchyma of the palatine tonsils. This definition does not include tonsillitis as part of infectious mononucleosis (also known as glandular fever). Tonsillitis may occur in isolation or as part of a generalised pharyngitis. The clinical distinction between tonsillitis and pharyngitis is unclear in the literature, and the condition is often referred to simply as 'acute sore throat'.
History and exam
Christos Georgalas, PhD, DLO, FRCS (ORL-HNS)
Professor of Surgery - Head and Neck
University of Nicosia
CG declares that he has no competing interests.
Eleftherios Margaritis, PhD, MSc, MD
Otolaryngologist - Head and Neck Surgeon
Collaborator in Otolaryngology
Hippokration University Hospital
EM declares that he has no competing interests.
Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
IB declares that he has no competing interests.
Chris Del Mar, MB BChir, FRACGP MD, MA, FAFPHM
Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine
CDM is an author of a number of references cited in this topic.
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