Acute tonsillitis caused by a virus is usually self-limiting and symptomatic treatment is sufficient. However, if the tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed that needs to be completed. Stopping the antibiotics prematurely may lead to the bacteria developing a resistance to it.
Most cases of tonsillitis are caused by viral infection and antibiotics is not necessary. It is usually self-limiting and symptomatic treatment to relieve pain and inflammation is all that is required. It takes about a week for full recovery. Drinking lots of water to prevent dehydration is usually advised.
Children should not be prescribed aspirin because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome - a potentially life-threatening illness causing encephalopathy (brain damage) and fatty liver. Persons diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis should not exert themselves or engage in strenuous activity for a month for fear of splenic rupture.
Surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) for tonsillitis may be recommended when a patient has:
Tonsillectomy may also be recommended to treat an abscess that does not improve with antibiotic treatment, or if breathing is blocked by swollen tonsils.
A complete recovery may take up to 2 weeks.
The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.
Information provided by
Subscribe to our mailing list to get the updates to your inbox