If bacteria such as strep are causing the tonsillitis, antibiotics are given to cure the infection. The antibiotics may be given once as a shot, or taken for 10 days by mouth.
If antibiotic pills are used, they must be taken for the entire amount of time prescribed by the doctor. DO NOT stop taking them just because the discomfort stops, or the infection may not be cured.
Other treatments include:
Some people who have repeated infections may need surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy).
Tonsillitis symptoms usually improve 2 or 3 days after treatment starts. The infection usually is cured after treatment is completed, but some people may need more than one course of antibiotics.
Complications of untreated strep tonsillitis may be severe. Children with tonsillitis related to strep throat or pharyngitis should generally be kept home from school or day care until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours. This helps reduce the spread of illness.
Call your health care provider if there is:
Wetmore RF. Tonsils and adenoids. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 380.
Del Mar CB, Glasziou PP, Spinks A. Antibiotics for sore throat. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008:(3):CD000023.
Chan TV. The patient with sore throat. Med Clin North Am. 2010. 94:923-943.
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