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Tonsillitis - Diagnosis

It is most often diagnosed in children from preschool to teenage years. Diagnosis is based on a physical examination of the child throat. Our doctor will start with a physical exam that will include using a torch to look at the child's throat, followed by the ears and nose, as these may also be sites of infection. Next, the doctor will gently start feeling (palpating) the child's neck to check for swollen glands (lymph nodes) and listen to their breathing with a stethoscope.


  • A middle ear infection (otitis media) - where fluid between the eardrum and inner ear gets infected by bacteria
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Disrupted breathing during sleep (obstructive sleep apnoea)
  • Infection that spreads deep into the surrounding tissue (tonsillar cellulitis)
  • Infection that results in a collection of pus behind a tonsil (peritonsillar abscess)

If tonsillitis is caused by group A streptococcus, the child has an increased risk of rare problems such as rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disorder that affects the heart, joints and other tissues; or an inflammatory disorder of the kidneys that results in inadequate removal of waste and excess fluids from blood.