Have you ever tried to eat a crispy, chocolate chunk cookie and found it to be extremely difficult? It is not difficult to consume because it has been over-baked to an extreme degree; instead it is difficult because your throat is wincing in pain every time you try to swallow the cookie down your throat. If you have recently experienced an event like this, you may have tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is an infection in the pair of tonsils that are above and behind the tongue.
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Causes and Risk Factors

Tonsils are fleshy clusters of lymphatic tissue on both sides of the back of the throat that fight germs that enter the body through the mouth. In most cases, tonsillitis is caused by viruses that frequently affect the respiratory (breathing) system. They include the flu (influenza) virus, the parainfluenza virus (which causes laryngitis and croup), the adenovirus, the enterovirus, and the rhinovirus. It may also be caused by the same virus that causes strep throat (the Epstein-Barr virus) or the bacteria that cause mononucleosis (Streptococcus pyogenes). A fungal or parasitical infection rarely causes tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis is a contagious disease and it can spread through the air in the form of droplets when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. Inhaling these droplets or coming into contact with objects that have been infected by these droplets can cause tonsillitis in healthy individuals.

Tonsils are most likely to become infected during the winter season, and particularly when viral infections inflict common colds. Children are more vulnerable to tonsillitis because they may become infected in schools, child care facilities, and places where they may come into contact with infected children.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis

Individuals who are suffering from tonsillitis have difficultly in swallowing their saliva. Tonsillitis causes the patient to have a painful and sore throat, which makes it hard for him or her to eat, drink, or swallow anything. Mild fever, tonsils growing larger, more red, and tender, swelling and pain in the tonsils and glands in the neck, formation of yellow or whitish spots on tonsils, cracked or hoarse voice, and in some extreme cases ulcers and pus on the tonsils are some indicators of infection in the tonsils. Tonsillitis that is caused by viral infection may be cured within a few days. However, bacterial tonsillitis may be bothersome for a couple of weeks.

Preventing Tonsillitis
The best way to prevent tonsillitis is to avoid close contact with people who have tonsillitis. Here are a few additional tips to prevent developing this contagious disease:
Do not share toothbrushes with an infected individual and avoid sharing eating or drinking utensils.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly because this is the best way to ward off many infections, including tonsillitis.
Do not cough or sneeze in your palms. Instead, sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
Find an appropriate child care setting for your child that follows sound hygiene practices and has clear policies about not allowing children to attend when they are ill.

Here are some useful tips to follow if you are suffering from tonsillitis:

Consume more smooth food items including fluids such as soups, juices, apple sauce, gelatin, jelly, ice cream, and custard.
Avoid spicy, oily, and junk foods as well as crunchy hard snacks.

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