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Acute Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis

Acute Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis - Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of pharyngitis include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever

If tonsillitis occurs, you will experience:

  • Severe sore throat
  • Painful and difficult swallowing
  • Referred pain to the ear
  • Fever and chills
  • Loss of voice (due to inflammation of voice box)
  • Headache
  • Tender and enlarged lymph glands in the neck
  • Red and swollen tonsils and white patches on the tonsils


Acute tonsillitis itself is usually not serious but can lead to complications if left untreated. Swollen tonsils can block the airway and cause airway obstruction leading to sleep apnoea.

The infection may spread to the surrounding tissue and neck and result in the collection of pus between the tonsil and tissues around it (peritonsillar infection and abscess). It can also spread to the neck causing pus collection in the neck (parapharyngeal abscess and retropharyngeal space abscess). You can present with difficulty swallowing, drooling, stiff neck or pain and difficulty breathing.

Acute Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis - Preparing for surgery

Acute Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis - Post-surgery care

Acute Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth