How To Treat Tonsillitis

What are the best ways to treat tonsillitis?

One of the most common throat problems people in the UK can experience is acute tonsillitis. While you might know the basics of how your tonsils work, you might not know that they help to fight infections too. Due to this, they are a key part of your body’s immune system. Sometimes though, they become acutely inflamed and this leads to what is known as acute tonsillitis.

Common symptoms of this condition include finding it difficult to swallow, painful enlargement of the neck glands, malaise, a fever, and a sore throat. Not infrequently sufferers may have to take time off their usual activity e.g. work or school. Some people are more prone to this condition than others and can experience numerous episodes of acute tonsillitis each year. Children and younger people are more prone to tonsillitis because the tonsils play an increasing reduced role in immunity as we get older particularly after puberty.

But how can you treat tonsillitis?

Plenty of rest

This condition can often be treated at home and get better within a week to 10 days. One good tip is to get plenty of rest and allow your body to fight the inflammation naturally. While this might involve taking some time off work or school, rest is vital to help your body recover.

Cool drinks to soothe your throat

Sipping on cool drinks is also recommended to soothe the sore throat tonsilitis can bring. While you might not feel like doing this if your throat is very inflamed, it can help to make it feel better. Adults may also find gargling with warm, salty water helpful. It is important to get as many fluids down if you have an acute attack of tonsillitis. An average adult will need about 2 litres of fluid a day but this will also depend on how much you can eat and the surrounding temperature. If your urine is dark coloured, you are likely not drinking enough.

Take over the counter medication

In terms of treating tonsillitis at home, it is fine to take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help. These types of medication will fight the inflammation in your glands and also reduce any pain you feel. For younger children, there are liquid ibuprofen/paracetamol products that can be used instead. Liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen may also be preferred in adults as swallowing tablets may be painful. It is important to use the medication for pain at regular intervals rather than only when the pain starts. 

Difflam mouth spray can also be used to take the edge off the pain from the sore throat. It can be used up to every 2-3 hours during the day.


For more serious or regular bouts of tonsillitis, it is best to visit a medical professional. After a thorough consultation, they may advise surgery as the best way to treat it. The role of antibiotics in tonsillitis is contentious but they are prescribed by many GPs, ENT surgeons, and paediatricians in acute tonsillitis to prevent a superadded bacterial infection. Undergoing a tonsillectomy sees your tonsils removed and will usually stop this condition from being an issue in the future. In addition, a tonsillectomy may sometimes be advised if you have suffered from a peritonsillar abscess (a very painful condition) on multiple (usually two) occasions.

Help with tonsillitis from ENT Sheffield

As noted above, if you suffer regularly from this condition then it is best to see a qualified ENT medical professional. This is also worthwhile if you have been ill with a bout of tonsilitis for an extended period. Book an appointment through our website today to speak with one of our medical professionals.