Swollen tonsils can accompany a number of different infections of the upper respiratory tract. Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the tonsils, which typically occurs due to infection
from viruses or bacteria. Tonsillitis may be accompanied by other symptoms like
- sore throat,
- painful swallowing,
- headache, and
- a coating of yellow pus on the tonsils.
What is tonsillitis?
The large tonsils are two oval-shaped areas of lymphoid tissue that occur on
the left and the right side of the throat. These tonsils are also referred to as
the palatine tonsils. In addition there are two lingual tonsils located at the
base and the back of the left and right tongue. Tonsillitis is inflammation of
one or both of the tonsils. The adenoids are lymphoid tissue located at the
back the pharynx that often become infected with the same microbes at the same
time as the tonsils.
Is tonsillitis contagious?
Most acute infections of the tonsils are due to viruses or bacteria and usually
is contagious by direct person-to-person contact.
- Tonsillitis caused by a
virus infection usually is contagious for about 7-10 days.
tonsillitis can remain contagious for about two weeks.
Some individuals can
become chronic carriers of potentially infectious bacteria and can be mildly
contagious for long periods of time. Persons that are infected by bacteria and
are treated with antibiotics are considered non-contagious after approximately
24-48 hours of appropriate antibiotic therapy.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2015