Tonsillitis vs. Strep Throat: What’s the Difference

Tonsillitis vs. Strep Throat: What’s the Difference

Strep throat or tonsillitis are both common this time of year, and it can be hard to tell which one you’re suffering from. Both can be harmful, but there are some key differences between the two. Understand tonsillitis and strep throat, so you can treat each correctly. Whatever you’ve come down with, our ENT clinic in Sugar Land is here to help you get back in tip-top shape.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is an infection that occurs in the throat and tonsils, which are the two small organs located in the back of your throat. Tonsils serve as the first line of defense to fight bacteria that may enter the mouth. Strep throat is a common infection that is caused by the bacterium called Group A streptococcus. Strep throat can be easily spread from someone who is already infected by the sickness.

Symptoms

  • Sore throat
  • Red tonsils with white spots
  • Fever
  • Painful swallowing
  • Headache
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment

To recover from strep throat, it is best to drink clear liquids and warm tea. It is also recommended that you get rest and take an antibiotic like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), which will relieve the pain. Strep throat symptoms can last up to ten days.

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis occurs in the same area as strep throat, deep in the throat within the tonsils. Tonsillitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Tonsillitis is common in children and isn’t that serious of an issue—as long as it’s treated. If tonsillitis is not treated, it can lead to further issues, such as sleep apnea, halitosis, and decay in the teeth.

Symptoms

  • Sore throat
  • Red tonsils with white spots
  • Fever
  • Painful swallowing
  • Ear and neck pain
  • Tiredness
  • Coughing
  • Chills
  • Stomach pain
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Issues opening mouth
  • Vocal changes

Treatment

If you start to notice these symptoms, you should visit a local ENT, where you can be properly diagnosed by a doctor. If the condition is chronic, it may require tonsillectomy surgery. Tonsillectomy will remove the tonsils because the organ itself is infected.

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