- Anatomy of a Sore Throat Slideshow
- Take the Strep Throat Quiz
- Improve Immunity Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Tonsillitis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Tonsillitis - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Tonsillitis - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Tonsillitis - Snoring and Other Problems
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
- Tonsillitis and adenoid infection facts
- What are the tonsils and adenoids?
- What is the purpose of the tonsils and adenoids?
- What are the symptoms of tonsillitis or an adenoid infection?
- What does tonsillitis look like?
- Can someone catch tonsillitis from another person?
- What are common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids?
- How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection diagnosed?
- How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection treated?
- What home remedies help soothe tonsillitis?
- When should the tonsils and/or adenoids be removed?
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis or an adenoid infection?
The most prominent symptom of tonsillitis and adenoid infection is a sore throat. Other symptoms of tonsillitis and adenoid infection include:
- Bad breath
- Congestion and runny nose
- Swollen lymph nodes in front of the neck
- Red, swollen tonsils with patches of pus (white spots)
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Loss of voice or muffled voice
- Abdominal pain
- Coughing up blood
- If the adenoids are enlarged, breathing through the nose may be difficult
- Breathing through the mouth, especially in children
- Noisy breathing in the day; snoring at night is often observed
- Voice may be nasal-sounding
When there is a sore throat and cold symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, the cause is most likely a virus. Viral infection of the tonsils or adenoids usually resolves without treatment within two weeks.
Sore throat with a sudden mild fever, without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection may point to a bacterial infection. If these symptoms are present, see a doctor for diagnosis because of the risk of strep throat. Although strep throat will usually go away even without treatment, an untreated strep infection can lead to complications including rheumatic fever, which can permanently damage the heart.
What does tonsillitis look like?