When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if any of the following occur.
- Sore throat, along with any two of these signs of bacterial infection:
- Tonsillitis or sore throat that starts after being exposed to someone who has Reference strep throat Opens New Window.
- Five episodes of tonsillitis in a year despite treatment.
- Persistent mouth-breathing, snoring, or a very nasal- or muffled-sounding voice.
- Reference Signs of dehydration Opens New Window, such as a dry mouth and tongue and urinating less than normal.
Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your or your child's symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. Watchful waiting is appropriate if tonsillitis occurs along with cold symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing. Tonsillitis with these symptoms is most often caused by a virus. Viral infection of the tonsils can be treated at home and usually goes away without treatment within 2 weeks. In general, the more like a cold the condition is, the less likely it is that the condition is caused by the strep bacteria.
Watchful waiting is not appropriate if tonsillitis occurs with fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher or with swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and without symptoms of an Reference upper respiratory tract infection Opens New Window. If these symptoms occur together, see a doctor. You may have strep throat, which should be treated promptly.
Who to see
The following health professionals can evaluate tonsillitis, perform quick tests or throat cultures, and prescribe antibiotic treatment if needed:
- Reference Pediatrician Opens New Window
- Reference Family medicine physician Opens New Window
- Reference Otolaryngologist Opens New Window (ear, nose, and throat, or ENT, doctor)
- Reference Nurse practitioner Opens New Window
- Reference Physician assistant Opens New Window
- Reference Internist Opens New Window
If surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is indicated, your doctor may refer you to an Reference otolaryngologist Opens New Window (ear, nose, and throat, or ENT, doctor).
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference December 8, 2010|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology