A tonsil infection, better known as tonsillitis, is an inflammation of the tonsils, two tissues located on both sides of the throat, MayoClinic.com explains. While a viral infection is the cause of many cases, bacterial infections are sometimes responsible. Tonsil infections usually affect children from pre-school age to the mid-teen years, and symptoms can include white patches on the back of the throat, pain, fever, difficulty swallowing, swollen tonsils and a stiff neck. To cure a tonsil infection, you must first know whether it is viral or bacterial.
Visit your doctor and get an accurate diagnosis. To properly cure a tonsil infection, your doctor needs to determine if the infection is caused by bacteria. Viral infections heal on their own, while bacterial infections require antibiotics. To test for the type of infection you have, your doctor uses a long stick with a cotton swab to take some mucus from the back of your throat, and tests it for bacteria, KidsHealth.org explains.
Take antibiotics as the doctor prescribes if the infection is bacterial. The most common antibiotic used to treat a tonsil infection is penicillin taken by mouth for 10 days. If you are allergic to penicillin, your doctor will prescribe another type of antibiotic.
Rest to allow time for the body to heal. The University of Maryland Medical Center also recommends drinking warm and cold fluids to help soothe your throat. Examples include warm tea with honey, chicken soup and ice pops.
Take pain relievers. Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, help relieve the pain and control the fever accompanying a tonsil infection. While pain is unpleasant, a fever can be dangerous when it becomes too high.
Undergo surgery. If you suffer from recurring tonsil infections, or your infections do not respond to treatments, surgery may be necessary. MayoClinic.com states that most people return home the day of the surgery, and complete recovery takes place within 7 to 10 days.