Side Effects of Tonsillitis

The tonsils are two small pieces of tissue located on either side of the back of the mouth. They are part of the body's immune system and help defend the body against infection—especially germs in the air or food. Tonsillitis is a medical condition in which the tonsils become infected due to a virus or bacterium. If you develop any serious side effects of tonsillitis, speak with your doctor as you may require medication to alleviate these symptoms.

A doctor using a tongue compressor to inspect a patient's throat. (Image: mtreasure/iStock/Getty Images)

Sore Throat

If you develop tonsillitis, the most common side effect is a sore throat. An infection of the tonsils may cause severe irritation and inflammation. If this occurs, the tissues of the tonsils may swell, which can make swallowing or eating food uncomfortable. The Better Health Channel website explains that certain children with tonsillitis may complain of stomach pain rather than a sore throat.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes are a crucial component of the lymphatic system within the body, which helps defend the body against infection. Tonsillitis may cause the lymph nodes within the neck to become infected, which may lead the nodes to become irritated or inflamed. You may experience painful sensitivity within your neck as a result of swollen lymph nodes.

White or Yellow Throat Patches

Tonsillitis can cause the tissues of the tonsils to accumulate pus, which may appear as white or yellow patches of skin at the back of the mouth. These patches may cause additional symptoms such as swelling, inflammation or irritation of the tonsils. Such symptoms may interfere with eating or drinking certain foods or fluids.

Bad Breath

If you develop tonsillitis, the infection may cause you to have bad breath. Bacteria can give off a bad odor as they spread through the tonsil tissues.


In response to a tonsillitis infection, your body may develop a fever. A fever is an immune response utilized by your body to help stop the spread of infection. You may also experience additional symptoms such as a headache or fatigue.

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