4 ways to tell if you have tonsillitis

4 ways to tell if you have tonsillitis
4 ways to tell if you have tonsillitis

Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection that develops in the throat. It is estimated that 30 million cases are diagnosed each year. This condition can occur at any age, although children and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to be affected. The only way to know if you've got angina is to see a doctor or have a medical test. However, it is also possible to identify some associated symptoms before making an appointment.


Method 1 of 4: Assess for symptoms in the throat and mouth

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 1

Step 1. Determine the severity of your throat pain

The first sign of angina is usually a big sore throat. You could still get sore throat if you have a mild sore throat, but a sore throat that relieves easily is probably not related to sore throat.

  • The pain should not be related to talking or swallowing.
  • Pain that can be alleviated with pain medication or partially alleviated with cold liquid or food could still be related to sore throat, but it will be difficult to get rid of completely without prescription medication.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 2

Step 2. Try to swallow

If your throat pain is moderate, but gets markedly worse when you swallow, you probably have sore throat. Pain that makes swallowing difficult is particularly common in individuals with sore throat.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 3

Step 3. Smell your breath

Not all patients will have bad breath, but infection with strep bacteria is often the cause of bad breath. This is due to the reproduction of bacteria.

  • It is difficult to describe the exact smell, although it is powerful. Some compare it to the smell of metal or the smell of hospitals, while others compare it to rotten meat. Whatever the exact smell, the breathing associated with angina will be stronger and worse than the usual bad breath.
  • Due to the somewhat subjective nature of "bad breath", it is not a reliable way to diagnose angina. Rather, it is a commonly observed association.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 4

Step 4. Feel the glands in your neck

Lymph nodes catch and destroy germs. If you have tonsillitis, the lymph nodes in your neck are likely to be swollen and painful to the touch.

  • There are lymph nodes in many parts of your body, but the first ones to swell are usually the ones closest to the source of the infection. In the case of angina, it is the lymph nodes located around the throat.
  • Use your fingers to gently palpate the area next to your ears. Move your fingers around the ears in a circular motion.
  • Also check the area of ​​your throat, just below the chin. The lymph nodes most likely to swell are located below the jawbone, about halfway between the chin and the ear. Move your fingers up towards the ear and down towards the neck.
  • Finally, check your collarbones.
  • If you feel swelling or noticeable bulging in any of these areas, your lymph nodes may be swollen from sore throat.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 5

Step 5. Check your language

People with tonsillitis often have little red dots on their tongue, especially at the back of their mouth. Most people compare these stains to those found on a strawberry.

These red dots can be bright red or dark red. They usually appear inflamed

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 6

Step 6. Check the back of your throat

Many people with tonsillitis develop petechiae, which are red spots on the soft or vault of the palate (towards the back of the throat).

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 7

Step 7. If you still have your tonsils, take a look at them

Angina is usually the cause of inflammation of the tonsils. They will appear brighter or darker red than usual and will be significantly magnified. You might also notice that they are covered in white spots. These can be located directly on the tonsils or just at the back of the throat. They might also appear yellow instead of white.

Instead of white patches, you might notice long streaks of white pus on your tonsils. It is also a symptom of angina

Method 2 of 4: Assess for other common symptoms

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 8

Step 1. Ask yourself if you've been around someone with tonsillitis

This infection is contagious and is spread through direct contact with the bacteria that caused it. It is unlikely that you will develop sore throat without having been in direct contact with someone who is infected.

  • It can be very difficult to tell if someone else has sore throat. Unless you've been completely isolated, you've likely come in contact with someone who has the infection.
  • It also happens that individuals are carriers of the bacteria without having the symptoms themselves.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 9

Step 2. Determine how quickly the disease started

A sore throat associated with strep throat develops without warning and gets worse very quickly. If your throat has become more and more sore in the days leading up to it, it probably isn't sore throat.

This parameter alone does not, however, exclude angina

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 10

Step 3. Check your temperature

Angina is usually accompanied by a fever of at least 38.3 ° C. A lower fever could still be caused by tonsillitis, but it is more likely to be a symptom of a viral infection.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 11

Step 4. Watch out for a possible headache

This is another common symptom of angina, which can be mild or unbearable.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 12

Step 5. Watch for digestive symptoms

If you lose your appetite or feel nauseous, you may consider this to be another possible symptom of angina. At the worst time of the illness, you might even have vomiting and stomach pain.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 13

Step 6. Take fatigue into account

As with any infection, angina can increase fatigue. You may find it harder to wake up in the morning and have trouble staying in shape during the day.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 14

Step 7. Look for a rash

Severe strep infections can lead to the development of scarlet fever. These red spots look like sandpaper.

  • Scarlet fever usually occurs 12 to 48 hours after the first symptoms of angina appear.
  • The rash usually starts around the neck before developing and spreading to the chest. It can also spread to the abdomen and groin area. In rare cases, it can affect the back, arms, legs or face.
  • Scarlet fever goes away quickly when treated with antibiotics. If you notice a rash of this nature, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, whether or not symptoms of angina are present.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 15

Step 8. Notice the absence of some symptoms

Many of the symptoms of the common cold and sore throat are similar, however there are some symptoms that people with sore throat shouldn't have. The absence of these symptoms could therefore indicate that you have a sore throat rather than a cold.

  • Angina is usually not accompanied by nasal symptoms. This means that you shouldn't have a cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, red, or itchy eyes.
  • Also, angina can cause stomach pain, but probably not diarrhea.

Method 3 of 4: Assess your history and risk factors

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 16

Step 1. Examine your medical history

Some people seem to get tonsillitis more easily than others. If you've had tonsillitis before, then this is probably the case with your new infection.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 17

Step 2. Determine if your age means that you have likely had tonsillitis

About 20% to 30% of sore throats in children are due to sore throat, while just 5% to 15% of sore throats in adults are seen.

Older patients, as well as people with concurrent illnesses (such as the flu) are more likely to get opportunistic infections

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 18

Step 3. Determine if your living conditions increase your risk of getting angina

The likelihood is higher if someone in your family has had sore throat in the past two weeks. A shared living space or a public space such as a school, daycare, dormitory or military barracks are examples of environments conducive to the colonization of bacteria.

While the risk of getting angina is high in children, it is lower in babies under 2 years old. However, they may not have the same symptoms as older children and adults. They might have a fever, runny nose, cough, and reduced appetite. Talk to your doctor to find out your baby's risk of getting angina if someone around them has already had it and your baby has a fever or other symptoms

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 19

Step 4. Determine if you have any other risk factors that would promote a contraction of angina

People who are immunocompromised, that is, those who fight infections less easily, are at greater risk. Other infections or illnesses can also increase the chances of getting sore throat.

  • Your immune system may simply be depressed from fatigue. Extreme exertion (like running a marathon) can also weaken your body. When the body focuses on recovery, its ability to fight infections is hampered. A tired body that is focused on recovery is not able to defend itself as effectively.
  • Tobacco can damage your protective mucous membranes in the mouth and promote the colonization of bacteria.
  • Oral sex could directly expose your oral cavity to bacteria.
  • Diabetes decreases your body's ability to fight infection.

Method 4 of 4: See your doctor

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 20

Step 1. Know when to see your doctor

You don't need to see your doctor every time a sore throat comes up, but there are potential symptoms of angina that should prompt you to seek immediate medical attention. If your sore throat is accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes, rash, difficulty swallowing or breathing, high fever, or fever that lasts more than 48 hours, call your doctor. doctor to make an appointment.

You should also see your doctor if your sore throat lasts longer than 48 hours

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 21

Step 2. Let your doctor know about your concerns

List your symptoms with your doctor and let him know that you think you have got strep throat. He will then check for the most obvious signs of the disease.

  • Expect your doctor to take your temperature.
  • Also expect your doctor to examine your throat with a light. He will try to detect if your tonsils are swollen, if you have redness on the tongue or even white or yellow dots at the back of the throat.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 22

Step 3. Expect your doctor to perform a clinical diagnostic protocol

This protocol is primarily an organized way to assess your symptoms. If you are an adult, your doctor might use a clinical score to give an empirical indication of how likely you are to have got a group A strep infection. This is just a list of criteria the doctor checks to determine if you have a group A strep infection. and how to treat your sore throat.

  • The doctor will count the points, positive and negative, according to the signs and symptoms that you present: +1 point for white and milky spots on the tonsils (exudates on the tonsils), +1 point for sensitive lymph nodes (painful cervical lymphadenopathy), +1 point for recent fever, +1 point if you are under 15, +0 point if you are between 15 and 45, -1 point if you are over 45 and -1 point if you have a cold.
  • If your result is 3 or 4 points, there is an 80% positive predictive value (PPV) for you to have contracted a group A strep infection. You will be considered positive for angina. This infection should be treated with antibiotics and your doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 23

Step 4. Ask your doctor if they can do a rapid strep test

The effectiveness of antibiotic treatment in children has not been demonstrated. A rapid test for Strep A antigens could be performed in the office.

The doctor will use a cotton swab to collect the fluids containing the bacteria in the back of your throat. These fluids will then be analyzed and you should know the results within 5 or 10 minutes

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 24

Step 5. Ask your doctor for a throat culture

If the test results are negative, but you still have other throat symptoms, your doctor may do a more thorough test, also known as a throat culture. This method involves trying to colonize bacteria outside of your throat in a lab. As the colony of bacteria coming from your throat grows, it becomes easier to detect large amounts of group A strep bacteria. Based on clinical judgment, your doctor will likely use a combination of the different methods: score clinical, rapid strep test and throat culture.

  • Rapid strep tests are usually sufficient to determine the presence of strep infection, but they can sometimes be inaccurate. In comparison, throat cultures are more reliable.
  • It is not necessary to do a throat culture if the rapid strep test is positive, because the strep test can detect antigens and will only be positive if a certain amount of bacteria are present. In this case, immediate treatment with antibiotics is required.
  • The doctor will use a cotton swab to collect a sample of fluid from the back of your throat. He will send this sample to the laboratory which will transfer it to an agar plate. The plate will be incubated for 18 to 48 hours depending on the methodology employed. If you have strep throat, group A beta streptococci will multiply in the dish.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 25

Step 6. Find out about other screening options

For negative rapid tests, some doctors prefer to perform a nucleic acid amplification test (NAT) rather than a throat culture. This test is reliable and requires only a few hours instead of 1 or 2 days of incubation.

Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 26

Step 7. Take your antibiotics if prescribed by your doctor

Angina is a bacterial infection and, as such, is effectively treated with antibiotics. If you have a known allergy to antibiotics (eg penicillin) it is important to tell your doctor so that he can prescribe a suitable alternative.

  • The course of treatment with antibiotics is usually 10 days (this depends on the specific antibiotics your doctor has prescribed for you). Take your antibiotics well until the prescribed period is over, even if you feel better before that time.
  • Penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporin, and azithromycin are antibiotics commonly used to treat tonsillitis. Penicillin is often used and is effective in the treatment of angina. However, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to this drug.If you know that this may be the case, you should let your doctor know. Amoxicillin is another drug that shows good results in the treatment of angina. It is similar to penicillin in terms of effectiveness and is more resistant to stomach acid in your stomach before it is absorbed into your system. In addition, its spectrum of activity is wider than that of penicillin.
  • Azithromycin, erythromycin or cephalosporin are used as an alternative treatment in case a person is allergic to penicillin. Note that the side effects on the gastrointestinal system are greater with erythomycin.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 27

Step 8. Stay calm and rest while the antibiotics work

Your recovery time should be as long as the time you take your antibiotics (up to 10 days). Give your body the opportunity to heal throughout this time.

  • While you are healing, a little more sleep, herbal teas, and plenty of fluids can help relieve your sore throat.
  • In addition, it is often helpful to consume cold beverages, ice cream, and popsicle sticks for pain relief.
Tell if You Have Strep Throat Step 28

Step 9. Have your doctor follow up if you wish

You should feel better after 2-3 days. If not, or if you still have a fever, call your doctor. Also, if you show signs of an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, call your doctor immediately. Signs of an allergic reaction after taking an antibiotic are a rash, hives, or swelling.


  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after starting your treatment.
  • Do not share glass, utensils, or body fluids with people who have contracted angina. If you are infected, keep your personal items to yourself.
  • When you have sore throat, be sure to drink water regularly to help your body fight off the disease. Medication can help, and it is important to get enough rest and eat well.


  • Angina should be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise, it could progress to rheumatic fever, a serious disease that affects the heart and joints in the body. This disease can develop within 9 or 10 days after the first symptoms of angina, which is why it is advisable to act quickly.
  • Be aware that mononucleosis can have the same symptoms as angina or occur at the same time. If your angina test is negative, but you still have symptoms accompanied by extreme fatigue, ask your doctor to check if you have contracted mononucleosis.
  • See your doctor right away if you cannot swallow fluids, show signs of dehydration, cannot swallow, or have severe pain in your neck.
  • When you receive treatment for sore throat, call your doctor if you start to notice that your urine is dark in color or that the amount of urine is decreasing. This could indicate inflammation of the kidneys, a possible complication of angina.

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