Why Does Tonsillitis Occur?

Inflammation of the tonsils is a very common condition in cold weather. In this article we summarize the most important causes of tonsillitis.
Why Does Tonsillitis Occur?

Last update: 27 May, 2023

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils. It’s usually a mild condition that practically all of us have suffered from at some point. It consists of an irritation of the upper respiratory tract.

Although it can appear at any time of the year, the incidence increases widely in winter, along with catarrhal and flu processes. Next up, we’ll see the causes that produce this condition.

Why does tonsillitis occur?

The tonsils are located in the pharynx and have a defense function for our body against external agents. These external agents can be bacteria or viruses. For this reason, they become inflamed when we go through an infectious process, a sign that our body is reacting against the pathogen.

Tonsillitis is more frequent during childhood because this is when children have contact with the different germs for the first time. Our immune system matures little by little and gets used to them.


What are the causes of tonsillitis?

The most common cause of tonsillitis is infection caused by bacteria or viruses, but it can also be due to causes of an allergic, chemical nature, secondary to other diseases, or even trauma-based. In any case, suffering from tonsillitis is a nonspecific symptom of our body’s fight against a germ or external agent.

We’ll now look at the most common causes of tonsillitis:

Tonsillitis caused by a viral infection

Viruses are responsible for more than 50% of tonsillitis, both in children and adults. The most frequent causative agents are the viruses Influenzae, Parainfluenzae, Herpes, Coxsackie and Adenovirus. All of them can lead to tonsil inflammation on their own or predispose to a bacterial infection.

The symptoms that accompany sore throats caused by viruses are:

  • Low-grade fever (slight fever)
  • Coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Diffuse redness of the oropharynx
  • Diffuse lymphadenopathy

In this case, the treatment of angina is usually symptomatic.

Tonsillitis from bacterial infections

This is another of the most frequent causes. Approximately 40% of tonsillitis are due to bacterial microorganisms, especially streptococci, the main cause being group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. Other families of bacteria that can cause angina are Pneumococcus, Staphylococcus, Haemophilus influenza, and Corynebacterium.

When tonsil inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, it usually appears abruptly, accompanied by high fever, severe pain, and cervical lymphadenopathy. These infections can come from an imbalance of our own bacterial flora or they can be due to other viruses and / or external bacteria.

Some bacteria.

What can we do to prevent tonsillitis or minimize its effects?

Some recommendations to prevent tonsillitis are:

  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Using single-use tissues
  • Avoiding sudden changes in temperature

In order to minimize complications, you can take into account the following tips:

In conclusion, tonsillitis is mainly caused by a viral or bacterial infection. They usually resolve with symptomatic treatment or antibiotics, without complications. Children are especially vulnerable to this condition.

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