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Definition of Tonsillitis


Updated February 11, 2007


Tonsillitis is defined simply as the swelling of the tonsils, which are located in the throat, towards the back of the mouth.

Acute tonsillitis comes on quickly and can be caused by a variety of organisms, including viruses, group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (Strep throat)and other types of bacteria.

Tonsillitis usually clears up on its own, but can cause serious complications such as:

  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections
  • Abcesses on the tonsils

Tonsillitis caused by strep can also lead to:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Infections in the heart
  • Kidney infections

My son keeps getting tonsillitis, so his doctor is considering removing his tonsils.
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