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Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that affects millions of individuals each year. Although uncomfortable and unpleasant, the condition is rarely a major health concern.

What is tonsillitis? The tonsils are the first line of defence of the human immune system.

Tonsils are situated at the back of the throat. They are collections of lymphoid tissue, which forms part of the immune system. In total, people have four sets of tonsils, but, usually, when they are referred to as "the tonsils," it means the palatine tonsils. The palatine tonsils are the only tonsils that are visible under normal circumstances. Tonsils are at their largest size around the time of puberty and, from that point on, they slowly atrophy (shrink). The tonsils are the body's first line of defense against inhaled bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that cause disease.

Symptoms of tonsillitis Tonsillitis can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection, and typically resolves within a couple of days.

The most common symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • Sore throat and pain when swallowing

red and swollen tonsils with pus-filled