Children's Hospital Colorado
Ear, Nose and Throat

Tonsillitis

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What is tonsillitis?

 

Tonsils are lymphoid tissue located in the back of the throat. If your child has swollen tonsils or inflamed tonsils, they may have infected tonsils, also known as tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is an infection that involves only the tonsils, but when the infection also involves the throat, it is called pharyngitis. Pharyngitis is commonly known as a sore throat.

What causes tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis and pharyngitis may be caused by a virus. Over 90% of pharyngitis cases are caused by viral infections. Tonsillitis and pharyngitis can also be caused by a bacterial infection. Strep bacteria cause the bacterial infection commonly known as strep throat.

Who gets tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is most common among children between the ages of preschool and adolescence.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Stephen Newton, MD

Stephen Newton, MD

Otolaryngology

Kenny Chan, MD

Kenny Chan, MD

Otolaryngology

Steven Hamilton, MD

Steven Hamilton, MD

Otolaryngology

Allison Dobbie, MD

Allison Dobbie, MD

Otolaryngology