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Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

Tonsillitis is an infectious contagious disease. Here is detailed information on the nature of tonsillitis and how it is spread.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
There are two masses of lymphatic tissues present on each side of the oral pharynx, known as tonsils. Sometimes, certain virus or bacteria can cause infection in the tonsils, leading to a medical condition known as tonsillitis. It can be defined as the inflammation of the tonsils due to viral or bacterial infection. It is commonly seen in infants and children.
Causes of Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is not a life-threatening or serious medical condition, however, it should be treated quickly as it can cause pain in the throat and difficulty in swallowing. It is caused by both, bacteria as well as virus. Streptococcus group A are the prominent tonsillitis causing bacteria. This group of bacteria also causes strep throat. On the other hand, Epstein-Barr Virus, a group of virus causing mononucleosis, is another cause of tonsillitis in people.
Is Tonsillitis Communicable
Tonsillitis is contagious. Any kind of tonsillitis, be it viral or bacterial, is highly contagious. It is transmitted from an infected person to the healthy one by coming in contact with the nasal fluids of the infected person. The disease can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a healthy person and the healthy person breathes in the same polluted air. Similarly, sharing of plates, glasses and other articles also contributes in spreading the disease. Tonsillitis is highly and equally contagious at any stage.
Symptoms
Pain in the throat is the most significant symptom of tonsillitis. Inflammation in the throat leads to reddening and swelling in the throat. It also causes difficulty in swallowing food and water. Sometimes, swollen tonsils can also be felt in the neck or below the jaw. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include stomach ache, headache, earache, change in voice and high temperature. Infants and children find it very difficult to swallow food, hence, end up drooling excessively. Irritability, pain and crying are also the symptoms of tonsillitis in children.
Treatment
If tonsillitis is caused due to bacteria, antibiotics are prescribed to cure it. On the other hand, viral infection usually subsides on its own without any treatment. Tonsillitis caused due to bacterial infection can be treated within a week, if proper and timely treatment is undertaken. Whereas, it takes somewhat longer time for viral infection to subside. In the earlier times, tonsils were completely removed when inflamed because it was believed that they hardly played any role in the body. Today, however, it has been found that tonsils play an important role in preventing foreign bodies from entering the throat, and hence, are required. With the advancement of treatment and medication, there is rarely a need to remove the tonsils completely.
Although there are treatment methods available, you might as well follow certain precautions to avoid contracting the infection. Maintaining hygiene is of utmost importance for the prevention of tonsillitis. Secondly, if any family member has contracted the disease, it is better to keep his personal and daily items separately. You should also avoid having a close contact with the person until the symptoms subside completely.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.