This text provides information in simple language on the topic: tonsillitis.

What is tonsillitis?

The tonsils are small lumps of tissue. They are very far back in the mouth. The tonsils can become infected. Then they are usually red and swell. Affected people then have problems swallowing, for example. Often they also have a sore throat. The technical term for tonsillitis is: tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is contagious.

What happens with tonsillitis?

The tonsils are part of the body's defense system. The tonsils swell? Then the immune system in the body is currently active: it fends off pathogens. The almonds protect the upper respiratory tract in the throat from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. In children, the tonsils help to develop the body's immune system properly.

Do the almonds fight bacteria or viruses? Then they swell and hurt. As a result, an affected person often has problems swallowing and a sore throat. Have the almonds successfully repelled the pathogens? Then they swell again and the inflammation disappears. The pain when swallowing and in the throat also stop.

Sometimes the almonds can defend themselves against bacteria or viruses on their own. But sometimes they also need help with that. Then an affected person has to take additional medication. The drugs then support the human immune system and fight the pathogens. In this way, the person concerned can get well again.

How can you recognize tonsillitis?

A tonsillitis can show a number of signs.

Common signs of tonsillitis include:

  • difficulties swallowing
  • Sore throat: sometimes into the ears and jaw
  • reddened and swollen tonsils in the back of the throat
  • increased salivation
  • Bad breath
  • fever
  • general feeling of illness
  • a headache
  • little hunger
  • swollen lymph nodes on the neck and jaw

For example, children can have abdominal pain with tonsillitis. They may even vomit.

You think: maybe I have tonsillitis? Then go to the doctor. The doctor will examine you and give you all the important information.

What are the causes of tonsillitis?

A tonsillitis can have different causes. These include, for example:

  • Viruses
  • bacteria
  • Glandular Pfeiffer fever

Tonsillitis is contagious. Therefore you should:

  • do not cough at other people,
  • do not sneeze on other people,
  • not kissing other people,
  • Do not share cups and cutlery with other people
  • and wash your hands regularly with soap.

Children with tonsillitis should stay at home for the time being and not go to kindergarten or school. This prevents the contagious disease from being passed on to other people.

What can you do about tonsillitis?

Go to a doctor. The doctor will examine and treat you.

Did bacteria cause the disease? Then the doctor can prescribe an antibiotic for you. This will help the tonsillitis heal faster.

Did viruses cause the disease? Then the doctor will not prescribe an antibiotic for you. In this case, the body has to fight tonsillitis on its own.

If you have tonsillitis, you should rest. You should also refrain from smoking. And you should avoid spicy and acidic food and drink. Eat and drink soft and cool foods.

Do you want to alleviate the symptoms a little?

There are many remedies for sore throats in the pharmacy. You can take medication for fever and pain. Ibuprofen, for example, helps here.

Note: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist first. Read the leaflet that came with your medication. Only then do you take any medication.

Where can you get more information?

You think: maybe I have tonsillitis? Or do you have severe complaints? Then go to the doctor. The doctor will examine you and give you all the important information.

Would you like to read more about tonsillitis? You can find more information about tonsillitis here. Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: This text only contains general information. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.