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How Does Tonsillitis Feel Like & Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

How Does Tonsillitis Feel Like?

The tonsils are two small glands that are located on either side of the throat in small children. The main function of the tonsils are to fight and ward off any infectious agent that might have infiltrated the body of a small child and prevent spread of the infection. In case if the tonsils get infected they isolate the infecting agent and stop the spread of the infection. These tonsils start to shrink as the child grows up and his or her immune system becomes stronger. Tonsillitis is the medical term used for inflammation of the tonsils. This is usually caused by a viral agent but very rarely is also caused by a bacterial agent.

The primary presenting features of tonsillitis are sore throat with white spots filled with pus. Additionally, the tonsils will be red and swollen and there may be throat pain making it tough for the child to swallow food. In addition, there may be fever, cough, headaches, and hoarse voice. The symptoms may last at maximum for about a week. The pertinent question here is whether tonsillitis is contagious. This article gives a brief overview about if tonsillitis is really contagious.

Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

Tonsillitis caused due to bacterial and viral causes are contagious and can spread through physical contact. Such infections are normally contagious for a period of 7 to 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Tonsillitis caused by a bacterial agent can remain contagious for about two to three weeks.

Some individuals may be carriers of the infectious bacteria that cause tonsillitis and such individuals may remain contagious for quite a long period of time. Individuals who have been treated for bacterial tonsillitis with antibiotics are deemed non-contagious after about two days of treatment.

The main mode of transmission of tonsillitis is through physical contact, although the infection can also spread from infected droplets produced through sneezing or coughing. Transmission of tonsillitis through this mode can be both bacterial as well as viral.

In conclusion, tonsillitis is a condition which is quite contagious whether it is bacterial or viral for a period of 7 to 10 days, although the people who are carriers of the infected bacteria can be contagious for up to a month and can spread the infection through physical contact. Tonsillitis can also spread through infected droplets coming out from sneezing or coughing.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Strep Throat: All You Need to Know.” https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Tonsillitis.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tonsillitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20378479
  3. National Health Service (NHS). “Tonsillitis.” https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tonsillitis/
  4. MedlinePlus. “Tonsillitis.” https://medlineplus.gov/tonsillitis.html

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 6, 2023

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