Sore throat/tonsillitis

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Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that causes pain and difficulty swallowing. Read on for more information regarding the condition and the treatment options available to you...

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis can feel similar to a bad cold or flu. The tonsils at the back of your throat will be red and swollen. The main symptoms of tonsillitis in children and adults are:

  • a sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • hoarse or no voice
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • coughing
  • a headache
  • feeling sick
  • earache
  • feeling tired

Sometimes the symptoms can be more severe and include:

  • swollen, painful glands in your neck (feels like a lump on the side of your neck)
  • white pus-filled spots on your tonsils at the back of your throat
  • bad breath

Tonsillitis symptoms usually go away after 3 to 4 days. It is not contagious, but the cold and flu infections that cause it are. To stop these infections spreading:

  • stay off work or keep your child at home until you or your child feel better
  • use tissues when you cough or sneeze and throw them away after
  • wash your hands after coughing or sneezing

Should I seek medical advice?

Tonsillitis usually has to run its course. To help ease the symptoms:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink cool drinks to soothe the throat
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen (do not give aspirin to children under 16)
  • gargle with warm salty water (children should not try this)

If your symptoms persist or show no signs of improvement after a couple of days following the guidance above, you should speak to a pharmacist about your tonsillitis. We can give advice and suggest treatments to ease a sore throat, including lozenges, throat sprays and antiseptic solutions.

Next steps…

If you believe you may have tonsillitis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.

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