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Is tonsillitis contagious

Is tonsillitis contagious


Tonsillitis in Adults: What to Expect

Is tonsillitis contagious? Tonsillitis is very disturbing sometimes When your throat is itchy and you feel that there is something there yet you can’t do anything to help yourself. There is a solution which we will talk about in detail below.

Can adults have tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis most often affects kids and teens, but adults can develop it, too. Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils. The tonsils are two small soft tissue masses found on each side of the back of your throat. They’re part of your immune system and they help fight off germs and prevent infections.

Read on to learn more about what causes tonsillitis and how doctors treat the condition in adults.

Symptoms in adults

Symptoms of tonsillitis in adults are similar to symptoms in children, and may include:

  • sore throat
  • pain when swallowing
  • red, swollen tonsils
  • white or yellow patches on the tonsils
  • enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
  • bad breath
  • scratchy voice
  • earache
  • fever
  • headache
  • stomachache
  • coughing
  • stiff neck

What causes tonsillitis in adults?

Tonsillitis is most often caused by a virus, but sometimes bacteria may also be to blame.

Viruses that can lead to tonsillitis include:

  • influenza virus
  • common cold viruses
  • herpes simplex virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • cytomegalovirus
  • adenovirus
  • measles virus

Bacterial infections cause tonsillitis between 15 to 30 percent of the time. The bacteria responsible for strep throat, known as Streptococcus pyogenes, is the most common cause of bacterial tonsillitis.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Although tonsillitis is not contagious, the viruses and bacteria that cause it are contagious. Frequent handwashing can help prevent spreading or catching infections.

How You Get Strep Throat

Group A strep live in the nose and throat and can easily spread to other people. It is important to know that some infected people do not have symptoms or seem sick. People who are infected spread the bacteria by coughing or sneezing, which creates small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria.

People can get sick if they:

  • Breathe in those droplets
  • Touch something with droplets on it and then touch their mouth or nose
  • Drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a sick person
  • Touch sores on the skin caused by group A strep

Should you have a tonsillectomy?

Surgery to remove your tonsils is known as a tonsillectomy. It’s sometimes recommended for very severe or frequent cases of tonsillitis.

A tonsillectomy is typically an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll be able to go home the same day.

The surgery is performed the same way in children and adults, but the recovery may take longer if you’re older. Kids typically heal faster, which means they may only need about a week to recover, while adults might require two weeks before returning to work.

Children may also be less likely than adults to experience complications, such as bleeding or significant pain, after the procedure.

There’s not a ton of research to confirm the benefits of tonsillectomy surgery in adults. But, in a 2013 study trusted Source, scientists from Finland looked at 86 adults with recurrent sore throats. Forty-six of them had a tonsillectomy, and 40 didn’t have the procedure.

After five months, only 39 percent of those who had their tonsils out had an acute sore throat episode compared to 80 percent of those who didn’t have the surgery. Adults who had their tonsils removed also reported fewer medical visits and absences from school or work.

If you experience chronic or recurrent sore throats involving your tonsils, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of having tonsil surgery.

In rare cases, your tonsils can grow back after surgery.


Tonsillitis is more common in children, but adults can also develop the condition. If you develop tonsillitis, a viral infection is the most likely culprit, but it could also be caused by a bacterial infection.

Many cases of tonsillitis will get better on their own, usually within a week. If your condition keeps coming back, is severe, or doesn’t respond to simple treatment, talk to your doctor about whether surgery is right for you.


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