Risk of infection from tonsillitis


The typical tonsillitis is triggered by spherical bacteria of the streptococcal group A. These bacteria are transmitted via a so-called droplet infection. This means that they collect in the watery secretions of the mouth, nose and throat and can then get from person to person via only small droplets.

For example, if someone sneezes or coughs (to cough) or if there is an exchange of saliva in any other way, he can infect people around him. Rarely, it can also happen that watery droplets first settle on the skin and only later come into contact with saliva or someone else's nose or mouth. As a result, the risk of infection is particularly high in crowded and narrow spaces, such as on buses or trains, but also in classrooms and kindergartens.
Once infected with tonsillitis, it can take up to two to four days to get the first one Symptoms of tonsillitis occur. This period is referred to in medicine as "incubation period". During this time, however, one is already contagious despite the lack of clinical signs!
So if you suspect tonsillitis, you should see a doctor immediately. A treatment with Antibiotics is namely in the tonsillitis caused by streptococci absolutely necessary and should be initiated immediately. The antibiotic therapy practically directly minimizes the risk of infection and from 24 hours after the start of treatment, it is assumed that the patient is no longer contagious.
Nevertheless, it is important that the antibiotic (the standard therapy is done with penicillin), is consistently taken over the entire period for which it was prescribed (this is at least 7, but usually more 10 to 14 days), so that it can really be ensured that all bacteria have been killed and not one the disease breaks out again. In addition, failure to take antibiotics can lead to serious complications, especially damage to heart, Joints or the kidney.

Please also read our article on this Antibiotic therapy for tonsillitis

incubation period

After the pathogen has been absorbed, the incubation period. This describes the period of time that elapses until you get infected or infected first signs of symptoms noticed and would call himself sick. The incubation period for tonsillitis is with a few exceptions about 2-4 days. It is important to know that the patient is already contagious during the asymptomatic incubation period is. There are already many bacteria or viruses detectable in the body over the above Droplet infection can infect other people.

Figure tonsillitis

Figure tonsillitis

A - tonsillitis - Tonsilitis
B - Simple catharrhal angina -
Angina catarrhalis
C - throat findings in diphtheria
D - ulcers in bacterial
Forms of angina

  1. Palatine almond bay -
    Tonsillar fossa
  2. Hard palate -
    Palatum durum
  3. Posterior palatal arch -
    Arcus palatopharyngeus
  4. Anterior palatal arch -
    Arcus palatoglossus
  5. Palatine almond -
    Palatine tonsil
  6. Back of tongue -
    Dorsum linguae
  7. Uvula + soft palate
    (Soft palate) -
    Uvula palatina + palatum molle
  8. Meandering -
    Isthmus faucium
  9. Throat (back wall) -

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

Risk of infection when kissing

If you have tonsillitis or suspect you may have been infected, many people wonder whether a safe kissing with the partner is possible or better to avoid. Since even the smallest droplets contain a sufficient amount of pathogens to be contagious, there is a risk of transmission when kissing very large.
Make yourself aware of the fact that when you kiss you are comparatively with a lot of saliva comes into direct contact with tonsillitis at close range, it is advisable to do so during the contagious period to refrain from kissing.
However, as described above, one day after taking antibiotics is the Risk of infection very low. One chooses the inflammation without medication should be cured with a certain safety margin of about two weeks refrain from kissing.

Risk of infection for babies

Due to the close contact between parents and their baby, tonsillitis can easily be passed on to the child.

Parents, on the other hand, often wonder whether and to what extent tonsillitis is contagious for the baby. First of all, it is important to know that babies do not have a fully developed immune system. As a result, babies are generally particularly susceptible to infectious diseases and thus also to tonsillitis.
This is also given by the special circumstances in close everyday contact with the mother. Close contact with the baby, be it when breastfeeding or changing diapers, is inevitable. If the mother or father is sick, care must be taken not to use the same cutlery, for example. Special hygienic precautions should be taken if the baby is in closer contact. Regularly disinfecting your hands can be helpful.

However, the likelihood of preventing infection in this particularly close environment is extremely low. The baby is very likely to become infected, but this is not a problem that cannot be controlled. A visit to the doctor and the alleviation of the symptoms as well as the observance of an adequate fluid intake, on the other hand, are essential, especially for babies. If mother and baby are still breastfeeding, breastfeeding is still possible and useful. On the one hand, the pathogens are transmitted via the droplet infection described above; on the other hand, certain defense proteins, the so-called antibodies, are transferred from the mother to the baby with the breast milk. These can fight the pathogens and to a certain extent serve the child's immune system as a template for its own production.

Risk of infection during pregnancy

Even in pregnancy, tonsillitis is not uncommon, as here too Weakened immune system is. She is just like any other person Pregnant women contagious for their fellow men. The mother's immune system has to supply two organisms at the same time and may focus a little more on the unborn than on the mother. Therefore tonsillitis can cause tonsillitis in pregnancy longer duration exhibit and also longer contagious be. It is important to choose the right one Antibiotics to pay attention, because some active ingredients harm the baby.
Read our articles on this Medication in pregnancy and Fever during pregnancy

A transmission from the pregnant woman to the baby in the womb, however no problem represent.
The mother usually has tonsillitis no influence on the child and calls too no complications emerged.


How long you are contagious depends on some factors from. First of all, the duration of the contagious phase is determined by the Constitution of the sick person determined, on the other hand by the treatment.
One with Antibiotics treated bacterial tonsillitis applies usually 24 hours after the start of therapy as no longer contagious. Penicillin preparations are often used as the means used. Should they not be able to combat tonsillitis sufficiently, erythromycin or clarithromycin are used. The statement that there is no longer any risk of infection after one day while taking antibiotics is valid only for one caused by bacteria Tonsillitis, as antibiotics only work against this group of pathogens.

Viruses do not have their own metabolism and therefore do not offer the antibiotic active ingredients any target. If a virus is causing the inflammation, the duration increases the contagious phase sometimes very. Then the Free of symptoms or fever can be used as a measure of how long one is contagious. However, this method offers no guaranteenot to be contagious.
If you treat the inflammation with conservative measures, home remedies, and bed rest, should be a straightforward course on a Duration from one to a maximum of two weeks be limited. This time roughly corresponds to Time of contagion.

Home remedies for tonsillitis

In the treatment of acute tonsillitis have become in addition to conventional medical antibiotic therapy various home remedies established that alleviate the symptoms or even the Combat inflammation and the pathogen can.

First of all, it is recommended much to drink. Here can on Water or tea can be used. This is an important basic measure Keeping the neck warm with scarves and turtleneck sweaterscold drafts should be avoided. The warmth ensures good blood circulation in the neck and thus makes it easier for the body's own defense cells to achieve their goal. The drink washes away superficial pathogens and supports the ailing body in fighting the disease. Fruit juices are suitable because of the contained acidsthat irritate the inflammatory areas, Not.
That is a useful addition Gargle with salt water as well as with tea Sage, chamomile or thyme. These well-known home remedies help with acute tonsillitis due to their antibacterial, pain-relieving and soothing properties, especially for sore throats. Likewise have Currant juice and aloe vera juice similar effects. Another home remedy in fighting acute tonsillitis are Neck wrap. Prefers with warm quark or healing earth, they warm the throat and have a reputation for removing toxins. This property has not been proven.
A suitable measure to relieve the sore throat and difficulty swallowing are soothing lozenges. Many contain low concentrations as an active ingredient local narcotics. They are not considered a common budget, but they work effectively.
If the fever is in the foreground, it is advisable to focus on the well-known calf wrap to fall back on. Linen towels soaked in cold water, wrapped around the calves, remove excess heat from the body.

In general it must be said that there are budget funds that in the first days work well against symptoms of acute tonsillitis. However, if these persist or get worse, one should See a doctor.