Throat infections can involve the whole back of your throat or just your tonsils. Tonsils are small lumps of tissue in the back of your throat. Tonsils help fight infection but sometimes get infected themselves. Infection of the tonsils is called tonsillitis.
Everyone gets throat infections, but tonsillitis happens mostly to children
Throat infections are usually caused by a virus but may be caused by bacteria
Symptoms include severe pain when you swallow and swollen, red tonsils
If not treated, tonsillitis from bacteria rarely turns into a tonsillar abscess (a collection of pus behind your tonsils)
If you get tonsillitis very often, your doctor may do surgery to take out your tonsils (tonsillectomy)
Common symptoms are:
Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped tissues that help your body fight infection. Some people mistakenly call them "glands" and talk about having "swollen glands" when their throat is sore.
Sometimes, you may also get:
Doctors can tell if your throat is infected by looking in your throat and seeing that it's red. Sometimes they'll swab your throat and do a strep test, to see if strep throat is causing the infection.
Sometimes people think that big, red, swollen tonsils with white patches means it's strep throat. That's not true. All kinds of throat infections can look that way, not just strep.
Doctors treat throat infections with:
If you get severe tonsillitis from strep throat very often, your doctor may recommend surgery to take out your tonsils (tonsillectomy).