Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs Newsline - tonsilitis


Radio Newsline

February 25, 2014



Many children have tonsillitis at some point between the ages of 5 and 15.  Dr. Gayle Woodson, professor of otolaryngology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield says tonsillitis is an inflammation in the back of the throat.  She describes some symptoms.

“... fever, sore throat – sore throat being probably the most prominent thing. And if it is a severe throat, you have difficulty swallowing. Very small children can become dehydrated if they have so much pain they can’t swallow. Also if the tonsils are enlarged quite a bit, they have difficulty with breathing.”

Woodson says tonsillitis can occur any time of year, but is most prevalent in the winter.  It can be caused by a virus or bacteria, including strep throat.  She explains some treatment options.

“Treatment is generally bacteria to give antibiotics when there is an acute infection going on with a lot of pain and fever. If someone has more infection than three per year going on for a number of years, or if they have several infections in the space of six months, it’s clear that the child is going to continue to have these problems and that’s the situation in which we recommend taking the tonsils out ...”

Dr. Woodson says tonsillitis is spread by social contact such as sneezing. If a child or adult has tonsillitis, it is very important to see a primary care physician for evaluation and possible treatment. If left untreated, it can lead to a more serious condition called rheumatic fever.

Ruth Slottag

Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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