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AlyxCaitlin's avatar

What's the difference between Tonsillitis and Strep Throat?

Asked by AlyxCaitlin (894 points ) March 4th, 2010

I know they both affect the tonsils making them swollen with white spots, but other than that what’s the difference?

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Strep throat is caused by the Group A Streptococcus bacteria and can be treated with an antibiotic.

Tonsillitis is caused by enflamed tonsils and possibly adenoids. If it is severe and chronic, the treatment is to remove both tonsils and adenoids (a common procedure in young kids).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Strep throat can be ultimately fatal if untreated or not treated long enough. The strep bacteria can attack the heart and damage it. I’m not 100% certain the name of it at that point. Someone else help me out?

thriftymaid's avatar

A number of bacteria or viruses can cause tonsillitis; strep throat is an infection caused by streptococcus. They are both miserable!

gailcalled's avatar

Usually the sore throat that accompanies a strep infection is so painful, it is impossible to ignore. I lasted for three days before I sought my doctor’s office. Unless you are on safari or living in a biosphere, seek help.

@thriftymaid: I thought I just said that.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

I’ve been diagnosed with Tonsillitis many times within the last year or two, but this time it’s now Strep and I can’t even tell the difference. Just more pain haha

gailcalled's avatar

Md’s have an office swab test for Strep; if it is ambivalent, he does another throat smear and sends it to the lab.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I knew it was a serious complication so I cheated and googled it.. It can cause Scarlet fever or Rhumatic fever, which affects the joints.

skfinkel's avatar

Tonsillitis can also be treated by antibiotics. I have just started that treatment today. Getting tonsils removed as an adult is not a good option, I have heard.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

@skfinkel why isn’t it a good option?

gailcalled's avatar

I should have added that both I and my kids had the tonsillectomy when we were c. 4 years old.

Val123's avatar

@gailcalled I remember mine. I remember I got one of those shaggy “It” things for a present….do you know what I’m talking about? From the 60’s? :)

gailcalled's avatar

I remember mine also, but it was about 1940. I was still in a crib and got ice cream. My son had his done in about 1963. He got ice cream, also. We weren’t big on lots of presents, particularly when the little guys preferred the box to the gift.

MagsRags's avatar

@skfinkel tonsillitis that is bacterial can be treated with antibiotics. Most cases of tonsillitis are viral and then antibiotics aren’t of any benefit except to perhaps prevent secondary bacterial infection. That’s why your PCP’s office encourages you to give it a few days before coming in unless that pain is severe, you’re running a fevere, or you can’t swallow.

klutzaroo's avatar

@skfinkel Getting tonsils out as an adult can be just fine. I had mine out when I was 24. It can be more serious (complicated) than as a child and more difficult with a longer recovery period, but “not a good option” isn’t really right. If you’re getting sick a lot, its a better option than being sick all the time. I spent months being sick before my tonsils came out over 2 years ago, I’ve only been sick about 5 times since and only once seriously.

Donovan20's avatar

Strep throat illness can be defined as transmittable sickness that’s caused by a Streptococcal bacteria. Essentially the most normal signs of it are generally higher temperatures, reddish colored throat, swollen throat and tonsils and many others. It has been documented how the signs and strep throat symptoms – Strep Throat Symptoms of this ailment changes from mild to extreme depending on the patient.

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