HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)tonsilsCan viral infection cause tonsillar swelling?

What causes swelling of tonsils?


The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Divya Banu M

Published At December 29, 2019
Reviewed AtJanuary 3, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have been having off and on ear pressure in my right ear and have some cold symptoms the last 1.5 weeks (chillish), runny nose, body aches, etc. My kids have battled the cold as I have my office. I noticed my right submandinbular lymph node was slightly swollen. I went to my GP and he prescribed antibiotics which has not helped. I have had sinus issues in the past. I noticed that my right tonsil is bigger than the other, which is the side of the pressure and lymph node. Can a viral illness cause one-sided swelling? Could this be tonsil cancer? I go to the dentist every six months whom I assume checks out my tonsils. I am concerned it is one sided. My throat has not really been that sore.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I went through the pictures (attachment removed to protect patient identity). It seems you have inflamed tonsils. One side does appear to be larger and more red than the other. It does not mean you got tonsil cancer. It is a routine infection that needs strong antibiotics. The symptoms with regards ear, swollen node, etc., all signify infection. How many days Amoxicillin course has been completed? What dosage did you take? Did you take any gargles along with the antibiotics? Any nasal or oral decongestants? Any nasal sprays? Did the GP check the insides of the ear using an otoscope? Usually, when one has tonsillitis or pharyngitis the pain gets radiated to the ear and sometimes the infection also passes into the ear through the eustachian tube causing fullness and swelling inside the ear. The nearest nodes also get swollen when the infection is severe. I would suggest you take a course of Clarithromycin appropriate for your weight for 5 days and takeBetadine or Benzydamine gargles.Take Otrivin nasal spray for five days and steam inhalation. If the infection is not subsiding and the nodes are increasing in size you may need some blood tests and possibly intravenous antibiotics. Do you smoke or drink? What sort of a diet do you consume? Is there any fever or weakness alongside?

Patient's Query

Thank you, Dr. Shyam Kalyan N. I appreciate it. Regarding your questions... 1. 7.5 Days of Amoxicillin have been completed 2. 875/mg is the dosage 3. No gargles. 4. I've just started trying Cold Eeze Spray (Zinc Gluc.) 5. I don't smoke or drink and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. 6. No fever, but body aches. The tonsils don't appear to increasing in size, but also not decreasing.

Hey MichaelWhy don't you take a course of clarithromycin ? 500 mg twice daily after meals for 5 days. Take benzydamine mouth wash, mix equal amounts of gargle with water and gargles thrice daily. Take sudafed once daily and deslor 5 once daily for 7 days. Take sufficient steam inhalation. Drink plenty of warm water. Take otrivin (oxymetazoline) nasal spray twice daily each nostril. Stay away from smoke dust and pollution. If available take trypsin chymotrypsin bromelain rutopside anti-inflammatory medicines once or twice daily for a few days to remove the tonsillar congestion and nodal swelling. Take some hot fomentation over the nodes as well. This should help you get a good relief from the problems.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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