Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of a tonsil--the large, fleshy, oval glands that lie in the lateral wall of the oral pharynx on either side of the throat. These glands contain cells that make antibodies that help fight infection.
Tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Causes of tonsillitis include: Streptococcus (commonly referred to as "strep") bacteria (the most common cause of tonsillitis), Adenoviruses, The Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis) The herpes simplex virus, Cytomegalovirus, and the Measles virus. Symptoms may include: swollen, red tonsils (often coated with a yellow, gray, or white membrane), blisters or painful ulcerated areas on the throat, sudden onset sore throat, pain or difficulty with swallowing, snoring, foul breath, headache, loss of appetite malaise, chills, fever and swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck or jaw area.