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Health Promotion/Education

What are tonsils?

Tonsils are lumps of lymphoid tissue at the back of the throat one each side and they help filter and protect the body from infection. The size of the tonsils varies, though children generally have much larger tonsils than adults. After the age of about three years the tonsils become less important in fighting germs and usually shrink. Your body can still fight infections without them.

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected themselves. They become red and swollen and this can make swallowing, and therefore eating and drinking, difficult and painful. The infection can be viral or bacterial. Viral tonsillitis is the most common and will not respond to treatment with antibiotics.