Who is affected by tonsillitis

Tonsillitis appears most often in children. Males and females appear to be infected equally.

Viral infections are more common than bacterial infections in all seasons. Bacterial infections generally are more common during winter than in spring, summer, or fall.

Although there is no proof that exposure to cigarette smoke can cause tonsillitis, children of parents who smoke cigarettes have an increased rate of tonsillectomy (surgical removal of tonsils).1

Tonsillitis can affect adults who have not had their tonsils removed. Tonsillectomy involves greater risks of excessive bleeding and pain for adults than for children.


  1. Thuma P (2001). Pharyngitis and tonsillitis. In RA Hoekelman et al., eds., Primary Pediatric Care, 4th ed., pp. 1744–1747. St. Louis: Mosby.

Last Updated: December 10, 2008

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