The goal of home treatment of tonsillitis caused by a virus is to manage symptoms as the body fights off the infection. Home treatment eases the discomfort of sore throat and symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing.
Things that may help you or your child feel better include:
- Gargling often with warm salt water if your child is age 8 or older. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) salt with 8 fl oz (240 mL) warm water.
- Drinking warm or cool liquids (whichever feels better). These include tea, soup, juice, and rehydration drinks.
- Eating flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles.
- Taking over-the-counter pain medicines (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) to help relieve sore throat pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of its link to Reye syndrome, a serious but rare problem.
- Getting plenty of rest.
- Using a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom.
- Using throat lozenges to help relieve sore throat symptoms. But lozenges should not be given to young children because of the risk of choking. Also, many lozenges contain unneeded ingredients that can be potentially harmful.
Cough and cold medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use these medicines, check the label. Many over-the-counter remedies, including antiseptic mouthwashes, decongestants, and antihistamines, contain extra ingredients that don't relieve discomfort. These remedies are not recommended for children, as these ingredients have not been proved to have any benefits in the treatment of acute tonsillitis.1
A sore throat along with sudden fever and swollen lymph nodes, and without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, may point to a bacterial infection. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor to be tested for strep throat, which requires treatment with antibiotics. It is important to get plenty of rest and take all the prescribed antibiotics exactly as directed. Keep your child home from school for the first 1 to 2 days of antibiotic treatment. He or she is still contagious during this time and might pass the infection to others.