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Tonsillitis is inflammation of your tonsils. Tonsils are the lumps of tissue on both sides of the back of your throat. Tonsils are part of your immune system. They help you fight infections. Recurrent tonsillitis is when you have tonsillitis many times in 1 year. Chronic tonsillitis is when you have a sore throat that lasts 3 months or longer.

Mouth Anatomy



You may need any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Call 911 for the following:

  • You have trouble breathing because your tonsils are swollen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain gets worse or does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • Your sore throat is not better after you have finished antibiotic treatment.
  • You have trouble sleeping and wake up trying to catch your breath.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Drink liquids as directed:

You may need to drink more liquid than usual to help prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Gargle with warm salt water:

This may help decrease throat pain. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Ask how often you should do this.

Prevent the spread of germs:

Wash your hands often. Do not share food or drinks with anyone. You may be able to return to work when you feel better and your fever is gone for at least 24 hours.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.