Quinsy, also known as a peritonsillar abscess, is a rare and potentially serious complication of tonsillitis. The abscess (a collection of pus) forms between one of your tonsils and the wall of your throat. This can happen when a bacterial infection spreads from an infected tonsil to the surrounding area.


Although it is uncommon, quinsy can be caused by untreated tonsillitis, if infection spreads to the surrounding area of the tonsil. It can be also caused by mononucleosis.


Quinsy often starts with a sore throat. It causes fever, a general sense of feeling unwell, swollen lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing. It hurts much when you swallow and talk. The sore throat becomes more and more severe as the fever rises. The abscess is usually located on one side and you can also get ear pain on that side.

Prevention and protection

To relieve the pain, you can use non-prescription painkillers. Although it is difficult to swallow, it is important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a high fever. You should also rest to allow the body to recover. To prevent an abscess, it helps to begin treatment for tonsillitis immediately. Your chance of getting an abscess increases when you delay treatment for tonsillitis.


You should also get treatment right away if you contract mono to help prevent further complications. Make sure to brush your teeth and get dental checkups to keep your teeth healthy. Smokers are also more prone to peritonsillar abscesses. Keeping your mouth clean and healthy and not smoking can help to reduce your chance of developing an abscess.


Quinsy is treated with antibiotics after the pus has been drained from the abscess. If you have recurring abscesses, it may be recommended to remove the tonsils.

When to consult a doctor

Seek care if you have a severe sore throat and fever, it is difficult for you to drink and you urinate much less than usual.

How APPOTEK can help

APPOTEK cannot help you with quinsy. Contact your healthcare provider.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.