“As long as you have tonsils, they can get infected, and they can get swollen,” ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Gene Liu tells Cedars-Sinai. So just how painful can tonsillitis be? Because the severity of cases can vary, some individuals may only feel a bothersome scratchy sensation, while others may liken it to swallowing broken glass. Young children experiencing the discomfort of tonsillitis may drool, display fussy behavior, or refrain from eating.
It’s important to see your doctor if you suspect you or a loved one may be experiencing tonsillitis, as an untreated infection can lead to complications. If your physician confirms that the root of the infection is bacterial, antibiotic treatment will be required. Oftentimes, a 10-day round of penicillin is prescribed. Even if symptoms begin to subside, it’s important to take the medication exactly as prescribed. If not taken to completion, a child may be more susceptible to certain health conditions such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever (via Mayo Clinic).
Alternatively, if the source of your tonsillitis infection is viral, there are at-home remedies one can implement to help seek relief.