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It’s one of the worst times of year to contract tonsillitis, being cold and wintry almost everywhere across the country. So what can you do to prevent catching it, treat it when you have it, and learn more about it in general? Our expert ear, nose and throat doctor, Jon Hughes, tells all in today’s blog post. Don’t forget: if it’s an emergency, call 999 for help and advice.

What’s tonsillitis?

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is this condition? Well, put simply, it’s a swelling of the tonsils, which are small, grape-shaped lumps found at the back of your throat. They’re connected to our immune system and can enlarge when you’re fighting an infection. Unfortunately, this can cause a whole host of painful symptoms.

How do I know if I have it?

Your tonsils may appear red and swollen and sometimes may have white spots on them. You’ll likely have some cold-like symptoms, too: cough, headache, fever, tiredness, sore throat etc. Some people also find it physically difficult – and painful – to swallow. In all these cases, we’d advise seeking tonsillitis treatment.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Yes, so it’s a good idea to stay off work and rest if you think you have it (and keep any kids at home if they’re poorly with it, too). Practising good hand-washing techniques is key to stopping the spread, and any issues should be put in the bin immediately after use.

What causes tonsillitis?

Bacteria and viruses – think colds, and conditions like strep throat. Your best chance at avoiding catching it is to follow some of the steps we’ve shared above.

Can I treat tonsillitis at home?

Not always, though there are some things you can do to alleviate symptoms, like gargling salt water, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting. Soothing drinks can also help. Again, seeking tonsillitis treatment may be your best option.

How do I know if I need tonsillitis treatment?

You may have repeated bouts of tonsillitis, or find the symptoms extremely painful to deal with. In some cases, the only way forwards is to remove the tonsils completely (tonsillitis removal, or tonsillitis surgery).

What else do I need to know?

As a specialist ear, nose and throat doctor, Jon Hughes can help with a whole range of tonsil problems and concerns, from tonsillitis treatment to tonsillitis removal and tonsillitis surgery. Get in touch with our team at our Harley Street clinic in London, to find out more.