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Tonsils and Adenoids

ENTACC Services, Patient Exam

The tonsils and adenoids are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system prevents germs and bacteria from entering through your mouth and nose.


Tonsillitis,usually the result of a viral or bacterial infection, is an inflammation of the tonsils that leads to swelling, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.

Symptoms & Causes

The tonsils are located in the back of the throat. Their constant exposure to germs makes them vulnerable to infection themselves. Following puberty, their role as immune system defenders declines significantly; this is why tonsil infections are far more common in children than adults.

Acute tonsillitis is the name given to a tonsil infection, swelling, and inflammation of the tonsils caused by allergies, upper respiratory disorders, bacteria, or viruses. Common symptoms of tonsillitis include white or yellow patches on the tonsils, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, tender lymph nodes, bad breath, headache, and stiff neck. Younger children may be extra irritable, drool excessively, and refuse to eat.

The streptococcus bacterium is a frequent cause of tonsillitis. Doctors will usually conduct strep tests with throat cultures when a patient is diagnosed with a tonsil infection.


Viral infections should clear up in a week to ten days. Make sure you get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids (warm liquids like broth or tea with honey).

To soothe your throat, gargle with warm salt water several times a day, eat cold treats such as popsicles, and suck on lozenges or cough drops. Avoid cigarette smoke and other irritants. 

Antibiotics are required if the infection is bacterial. 

Your doctor may recommend surgical removal of the tonsils if your condition recurs frequently.


Similar to infections in the tonsils, adenoids can also become infected. The adenoids are soft tissue, similar to the tonsils, located behind the nose and roof of the mouth. They are part of the immune system and aid in fighting off infection.

Since your adenoids play such a key role in protection, they, like tonsils, often come into contact with germs and then become infected. This condition is known as adenoiditis.


Adenoid infections often affect children but are nearly unheard of in adults; this is because the tissues begin to shrink around 5 or 6 and disappear in most people by the time they reach their teens.

Viruses and bacteria can cause adenoid infections.


Enlarged adenoids can block airflow leading to mouth breathing, snoring, and a dry and sore throat. Yellow or green discharge can also occur. Infected adenoids can also lead to middle ear infections, sinusitis, and chest infection.


Because adenoiditis symptoms closely mirror other conditions, your child’s doctor will examine their ears, nose, and throat, and check for swollen lymph nodes in the neck via an x-ray test.

If the cause of adenoiditis is viral, it should run its course in a matter of days when treated with

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Fluids
  • Rest

Adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy are usually performed at the same time.

Recovering from Surgery

If surgery is deemed necessary, full recovery can be between seven and ten days. To make it as painless and smooth as possible, remember:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat a soft diet initially.
  • Increase activity slowly.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed.

Scabs will form where the tonsils and adenoids were and should fall off five to ten days after surgery. There should not be any bleeding, but if so, contact a physician immediately.

No matter what your throat issue might be, ENTACC is dedicated to providing you affordable, comprehensive care that will bring long-lasting relief.

Erin O. from Downingtown, PA

“I had stopped taking my allergy medicine and ended up with the worse sinus infection of my life. The staff at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County genuinely will provide you with the best care. I was overwhelmed by the kindness, concern, and sense of urgency everyone gave. My phone calls were returned promptly and time was made to see me in the office when it was an emergency.”

Connie J. from West Chester, PA

“I can say after years of coming to Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County, my relationship and trust with Dr. Marriotti has grown tremendously. He is personable, friendly and I appreciate his input with my hearing condition. The staff at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County is always cheery and pleasant. I enjoy my visits and always leave feeling like I am in good hands.”

Dauna P. from University Lincoln, PA

“I am so grateful for the care Dr. Picariello has given for my complex and serious brain diagnosis. He has made such an impression on the way the process was handled. I shall never forget him and how humble he was when dealing with my condition. He is truly one of the best around and I am fortunate for his high ethical standards and professionalism.”

Kathy S. from Schwenksvile, PA

“The knowledge, encouragement, concern, and individual attention the doctors of Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County had demonstrated was far beyond my expectations. The office atmosphere is professional yet friendly. The doctors know their profession well and are able to explain in basic understandable terms. They made sure we were comfortable and took their time going over everything extensively.”

James B., from Coatesville, PA

“The allergy shot process has been a great experience and has prevented a reoccurrence of my nasal polyps, and decreased the need for my asthma inhaler. The allergy staff is excellent.”