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Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils are infected with bacteria or viruses and become inflamed, causing symptoms such as sore throat and fever. While tonsillitis is most common in children, it can also occur in teenagers and adults. If your teen has suddenly come down with a sore throat, you should consult this list of other symptoms of tonsillitis in teenagers.

Tonsillitis: Causes and Symptoms

Tonsillitis is typically caused by bacteria and viruses, one of the most common being Streptococcus (strep) bacteria. Other common causes include:

  • Influenza
  • Adenoviruses
  • Enteroviruses
  • Herpes simplex virus

The symptoms of tonsillitis in teenagers are usually similar to those of children and can include:

  • Throat pain
  • Red tonsils
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Swollen glands in the neck or jaw
  • Blisters or ulcers in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of voice
  • Fevers
  • Headache
  • Ear pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad breath

Children who have tonsillitis may also experience nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Teens With Tonsilitis

Diagnosing tonsillitis in teenagers is relatively simple and typically only requires a physical exam and a throat swab. Your physician will likely start by looking at the back of your teen’s throat, feeling for swollen glands, and listening to their breathing. After checking for signs of infection, he or she will likely order a throat swab to check for streptococcal bacteria (this is also called a strep test).

If the strep test returns positive, your teen most likely has a bacterial infection. If the test comes back negative, the infection could be viral, but your teenager’s physician might want to order more tests to pinpoint the exact cause.

Treatment for tonsillitis in teenagers depends on the underlying cause.  If the tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your teen’s physician will likely prescribe antibiotics. If the tonsillitis is caused by a viral infection, treatment can be managed at home. At-home treatment options for viral tonsillitis include:

  • Rest
  • Drinking fluids
  • Gargling with saltwater
  • Consuming throat lozenges
  • Treating pain and fever with over-the-counter pain relievers

In some severe and recurring cases, a tonsillectomy (tonsil removal surgery) may be recommended.

When to See a Medical Professional

Treatment for Tonsillitis Symptoms at FastMed Urgent CareIf your teenager is suffering from a sore throat along with any signs of a bacterial infection, you should seek medical care. FastMed Urgent Care is open seven days a week with extended hours to provide you and your family with quality, prompt, and affordable medical treatment.

If left untreated, bacterial tonsillitis can lead to complications. Don’t wait to get treatment for your teen, find a FastMed Urgent Care near you today!

Check out our Health Resources Center for all of your health related questions.


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