Is It Just a Bad Cold or Tonsillitis

What are Tonsils?

Tonsils are a pair of soft tissue masses located at the far end of the throat. They are inside a person’s mouth, one on each side (right and left). Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system, they are a mass of soft tissue cells composed of similar cell types found in lymph nodes throughout the body. These soft tissue cells that compose a tonsil are covered by pink mucosa, which is found throughout the internal walls of the mouth, in turn, allowing tonsils to be placed on the inside of the mouth.

As tonsils are a part of the lymphatic system, they help fight many infections encountered by the body. When infected, the tonsils tend to swell and inflame. One might have to get them removed if there is constant swelling and inflammation of the tonsils (the soft tissue masses). However, removing the tonsils does not make one become vulnerable to infections.

What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is the inflammation and slight discolouration (red tone) of tonsils. These symptoms indicate that a person is suffering from tonsillitis. Owing to the inflammation of tonsils, an individual may feel and assume they’ve caught a bad cold or flu.

What causes Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is mostly caused by viral infection but can also be a result of bacterial infection. They act as initial defence against illness as they are capable of producing white blood cells that help the body in fighting infection. This function can make the tonsils susceptible to infection and inflammation. Post puberty, the immune system function of tonsils tends to decline, which may be the reason behind adult tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis can either be caused by a virus, like common cold, or by bacterial infection, like strep throat.


Cold related viruses are a common cause of tonsillitis. The virus can enter a person’s body through the droplets in the air especially when an infected person has sneezed or coughed around them. One can have tonsillitis due to glandular fever (Epstein-Barr virus), which is a rare case, but is quite common amongst teenagers.

Bacteria Streptococcus is the main bacteria that results in tonsillitis and strep throat. The person having strep throat is advised to take antibiotics. If strep throat is left untreated, it may result in severe complications, like rheumatic fever (capable of causing permanent heart damage) or inflammation of the kidneys.

Different Tonsillitis Conditions

Below given are the different types of Tonsillitis conditions found among patients:

  • Acute Tonsillitis: The tonsils get infected by a bacteria or virus, resulting in a swelled and sore throat. The tonsil may have a gray or white coating.
  • Chronic Tonsillitis: The tonsils get infected on a regular basis, which at times can be the case of repeated acute tonsillitis.
  • Peritonsillar Abscess: The tonsils get infected and a pocket of pus gets created right next to the tonsil, which pushes it (the tonsils) to the opposite side. In this case, it is important to have the Peritonsillar Abscess drained immediately.
  • Acute Mononucleosis: The tonsils usually get infected by the Epstein-Barr virus. In this case, there is a severe swelling in the tonsils, followed by fever, sore throat, rash and fatigue.
  • Strep Throat: The tonsils and throat get infected by a bacterium called Streptococcus. In most cases, the sore throat may be accompanied by fever and neck pain.
  • Enlarged Tonsils: The tonsils increase in size thus reducing the airway causing a person to snore.
  • Tonsilloliths: When the trapped debris gets hard or calcifies tonsil stones are formed.

How to identify Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is of two types, namely, recurrent and chronic. When a person experiences acute tonsillitis numerous times a year, it falls under recurrent tonsillitis. And, when tonsillitis tend to last even longer than acute tonsillitis along with symptoms including chronic sore throat, bad breath and tender lymph nodes in the neck, then that falls under chronic tonsillitis.

Each type of Tonsillitis has a set of symptoms which may include but are not limited to the list of symptoms mentioned below (few symptoms are only seen in children):

  • Very sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Fever and chills
  • Earache
  • Tiredness and headache
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Tonsils with white or yellow spots
  • Redness and swelling of tonsils
  • Hoarse, scratchy-sounding or no voice
  • High body temperature
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing of food
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands) on either side of the neck
  • Perhaps pus on tonsils
  • Aching muscles and feeling unwell
  • Stomach ache (young children)
  • Increased irritability (young children)
  • Poor appetite (young children)
  • Excessive drooling (young children)
  • Snoring and noisy or mouth breathing

Tonsillitis symptoms generally resolve in three to four days but they can also last for two weeks, even along with a treatment.

Diagnosing Tonsillitis through medical tests

Tonsillitis can also be diagnosed by performing the medical tests (done by your family Physician) given below:

  • Throat Swab: A cotton swab is rubbed on the tonsils by the doctor and the swab is then sent for tests. This is done to identify any bacterial infection, such as Streptococcus.
  • Monospot Test: This is a blood test, as certain antibodies need to be detected. This test can help confirming if the person`s symptoms are a result of mononucleosis.
  • Epstein-Barr virus antibodies: In case the Monospot test comes negative, antibodies in the blood against EBV can help in diagnosing mononucleosis.

Preventive measures for Tonsillitis

Good hygiene is the best prevention against tonsillitis as the germs causing viral or bacterial tonsillitis are contagious. One can practice the following:

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly and frequently, especially before eating and after using the toilet
  • Restrain from sharing food, glasses, water bottles or utensils
  • Replace the toothbrush immediately after having been diagnosed with tonsillitis

To prevent infecting others, one can:

  • Stay at home when not well
  • Seek doctor`s advice on returning back to work or school
  • Use tissue to cough or sneeze
  • Wash the hands after coughing or sneezing

Homeopathy Treatment for Tonsillitis

The treatment of tonsillitis depends on whether the inflammation of tonsils has been caused by bacterial or viral infection, for this an examination of the patient is mandatory. However, for momentary relief one can rely on certain home remedies for relieving themselves.

Home remedies for easing sore throat:

  • Increase the intake of fluids
  • Take rest
  • Gargle several times in a day with lukewarm salt water
  • Use throat lozenges
  • Moisten the surroundings using a humidifier
  • If the person smokes, they should try and avoid it

List of Homeopathy Medicines

There are certain medicines in Homeopathy, which can help manageTonsillitis, however, each medicine is given as per the patient’s prevailing condition. Below given is a list of medicines in accordance with what the patient is experiencing :

Amm. m.,Api,Bar c.Bell, HepS.Ign, Lach,Merc,Phytol.,Plum, Silic,Sul

Note: Please consult a licenced Homeopath before taking any medications mentioned here

Article by:

Jaininder Mohan – Homeopath (R.Ac, R.M.T., D.H.M.S. India)
205-5200 Finch Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada M1S 4Z4
+1 416-298-7537