Can You Get Strep Throat Without Tonsils

It is easy to confuse the terms strep throat and tonsillitis. They are both capable of making a person rather ill and the main symptom is throat pain but the similarities end there. A common misconception is that once the tonsils are removed via tonsillectomy then a person is no longer susceptible to strep throat. Unfortunately that is not true.

Streptococcus Bacteria
The culprit behind strep throat is the streptococcus bacteria. This bacteria causes the strep infection which can infect people with or without tonsils. Strep infections can strike people at any age but is most commonly found to occur in young children and teenagers. Because strep infections are caused by a bacteria they are often treated with prescription antibiotics. Step infections often will subside without medical intervention within three to seven days but often are treated with prescriptions to not only lessen a patient's discomfort but to also reduce the time that a patient is contagious.

Testing, testing
Getting tested for strep throat can be fairly unpleasant but doctors often want to confirm their diagnosis before commencing treatment. To test for the streptococcus bacteria a culture of the secretions from the back of the throat must be collected. This is done with a swab that looks and feels like a giant Q-tip. Patients often experience the gag reflex when the back of their throat is rubbed with the swab. The secretions collected are then tested using a rapid test kit in the doctors office. Results are usually available within 15 minutes. If the test comes back with negative results but the doctor believes that the symptoms are that of strep throat he may treat for strep throat and send the sample to the lab for further testing which can take up to 48 hours.


  • pain when swallowing
  • sudden onset of a very sore throat
  • fever of 101 degrees (or higher)
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • red throat
  • white or yellow spots on the back of throat

NOTE: If symptoms are accompanied by typical cold symptoms such as stuffed up ears, cough and runny nose then it is less likely to be strep throat

Soothing a sore throat
Strep throat is painful and unpleasant. Here are some ways to find relief:

  • ibuprofen or acetaminophen (take as directed)
  • frozen treats such as ice pops or frozen juice (avoid dairy)
  • humidifier
  • throat sprays or lozenges
  • drink plenty of clear liquids such as ginger ale, broth and water
  • warm salt water gargling (1-2 tsp salt per

According to the Centers for Disease Control up to 11,000 people each year are diagnosed with strep throat so if you too have been diagnosed with this infection you have lots of company.

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