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Tonsillitis

Intro

Call your doctor for advice if you have the following symptoms:

  • Fever  
  • Pain with swallowing
  • Social contact with a person with strep throat
  • Tender glands in the neck
  • Rash
  • Pain is not relieved with home care
  • Pain is worsening
  • Unable to control secretions; unable to eat, drink, or take medicines
  • Change in voice, such as muffled speech or "hot potato" voice
  • Difficulty breathing

Tonsillitis can develop into more serious medical conditions in some people. Anyone with tonsillitis who is drooling, unable to eat or drink, or has any breathing difficulty needs to go to a hospital's Emergency Department immediately for evaluation.

Sometimes the tonsils may swell or form a peritonsillar abscess resulting in blockage of the feeding and breathing pathways. You may have difficulty breathing or eating.

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Self-Care at Home

Throat pain and fever may be improved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, for example) or acetaminophen(Tylenol).

Ease sore throat pain by gargling frequently with warm salt water (8 ounces of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon salt).

Drink plenty of clear liquids to avoid dehydration  .

Follow-up

Make sure you follow up on all the tests the doctor performs and take all the medications the doctor prescribes.

Finish the entire course of antibiotics your doctor prescribes, even if you are feeling fine and symptoms go away.

Children and adults are not contagious 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment for strep throat. You can return to school (day care) or work after this period of time while you are taking antibiotics.

If symptoms remain or get worse, see your doctor.

If social contacts develop symptoms, they need to be evaluated.

Prevention

Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of the virus or bacteria that cause tonsillitis.

Avoid prolonged contact with people with strep throat until 24 hours after antibiotics are started.

Outlook

Most cases of tonsillitis go away within 7-10 days. When treated with penicillin, strep throat can be cured about 90% of the time with a single course of antibiotics.

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