Strep Throat versus Tonsillitis
We've established that your tonsils can be affected by strep throat. Does that mean strep throat is just an interchangeable term for tonsillitis? That's actually not the case. According to the Mayo Clinic, while tonsillitis can be caused by group A streptococcus, the same bacterium that causes strep throat, it can also be caused by other strains of strep and other bacteria.
That's why if you or your child is experiencing symptoms like a sore throat or swollen tonsils, it's essential to consult with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and receive appropriate treatment. While you can go to your dentist if you think you have tonsillitis, your general physician will probably be the best healthcare professional to consult in this situation.
If you have strep throat, your doctor will most likely prescribe an oral antibiotic. If taken within the first 48 hours of becoming sick, the antibiotics will decrease the length and severity of your symptoms, as well as reduce the chance of you spreading it to anyone else.
If you have tonsillitis, your doctor will first figure out if it's caused by a virus or a bacteria, like group A strep. If a virus has caused your illness, rest and at-home strategies are the only treatment. But if a bacterium causes your tonsillitis, your doctor will most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics.
If your child has recurring strep throat, you might also wonder if removing the tonsils might help. The Mayo Clinic notes that if your child is diagnosed with strep throat seven or more times a year, a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) can reduce the frequency and severity of strep throat infections. That said, your child may still get strep throat even after having their tonsils removed.
Strep throat can be really painful, no matter what age you get it at. If you're worried about sore tonsils, don't hesitate to consult with your doctor. Getting the right treatment as soon as possible is key to ensuring you are healthy and pain-free!