Fever, Sore Throat and Swollen Tonsils

The tonsils are two lymph nodes located at the back of your throat. They help filter out infection and act as a defense mechanism for your body. When your tonsils become infected, it’s called tonsillitis.

A virus typically causes tonsillitis, but bacterial infections can also lead to this common childhood condition.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Nearly every child in America will experience tonsillitis at least once. Common symptoms include:

  • Recurring throat pain
  • Throat infections
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red, inflamed throat
  • Swollen glands

Your child’s primary care provider or pediatrician usually makes a diagnosis of tonsillitis after a physical examination and testing.

Testing may include:

  • Rapid strep test
  • Blood tests to determine if a virus or bacteria caused the infection
  • Throat culture

Tonsillitis does not always need treatment, but some episodes may require medication for relief. In some cases, surgery is needed to address chronic or recurrent tonsillitis that has not responded to treatment.

Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Care

Ranked Among the Nation’s Best

Penn State Health Children's Hospital is proud to be one of the nation's top children's hospitals.

  • U.S. News and World Report has ranked us as one of the best children’s hospitals every year. Learn more about our rankings. We are one of only 84 children's hospitals recognized in any specialty.
  • We are one of eight hospitals in the country, and the only one in Pennsylvania, named a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons for excellence in pediatric surgical care.

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

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