What you need to know about your child's tonsillitis and tonsillitis treatment
What do you know about tonsillitis? Read about its causes and treatment here.
“Mummy! My throat hurts!” How many times have you heard your child make this complaint, only to find out that your little one has tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is a fairly common condition among children, especially if they are of preschool or school-going age.
But did you know what exactly this illness is and how you can ease your child’s discomfort at home if he has tonsillitis?
What is tonsillitis?
Right at the back of your throat are 2 small masses of tissue or glands called the tonsils. In young kids, the tonsils help fight germs, protecting the body from infections.
As a child’s immune system becomes stronger, the tonsils shrink in size and eventually, the body is able to fight infections without their help.
However, sometimes (and especially in kids), the tonsils get infected, becoming swollen and inflamed in the process.
When this happens, the infection is isolated within the tonsils, stopping it from spreading to the rest of the body. This condition is known as tonsillitis.
What causes tonsillitis?
Physicians agree that most of the time, tonsillitis is caused by a viral infection, specifically the viruses that cause the common cold or influenza.
However, sometimes the infection can be caused by bacteria, typically a strain called Group A Streptococcus bacteria. When this happens, the condition is commonly known as "strep throat".
Read about the causes of this condition and tonsillitis treatment on the next page...
Bacteria or virus: How do I know which one is causing the infection?
If you take your child to the doctor because he is complaining of a sore throat, the doctor may check if the condition is caused by bacteria or a virus in two ways.
- A swab test: With a cotton swab, the doctor will swab the back of your child’s throat. A lab test will identify a bacterial infection. If there is no bacteria present, then you will probably be told that it is due to a viral infection.
- Examination of the throat and other symptoms: Generally, a high temperature, white pus-filled spots on the tonsils, no cough and swollen lymph nodes indicate a bacterial infection.
Children with tonsillitis may also complain of nausea and stomach pain and might even vomit.
If your child’s tonsils are infected by bacteria, then the doctor may prescribe a short course of antibiotics.
However, if it’s a virus causing the inflammation and infection, then antibiotics won’t work and your child’s body will be able to fight the infection alone.
However, medical experts also say there are a few things you could do to help speed up the recovery process and keep your child as comfortable as possible during this period.
- Ensure your child gets enough rest
- Give him warm or very cold fluids to help with the pain in the throat
- Keep him well-hydrated, even if he loses his appetite
- Encourage him to eat smooth foods like jelly, ice cream or apple sauce
- If your child is old enough, get him to gargle with warm salt water
- Give children’s Panadol when needed and according to dosage instructions
Keep reading on the next page...
Following tonsillitis treatment, how long will it take for my child to recover?
Generally, your little one will get better in about a week. But in some kids and even adults, tonsillitis will last for longer than a week or it may recur often.
This is known as chronic tonsillitis and the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils (a process known as tonsillectomy), depending on how severe or disruptive to your child’s day-to-day activities the tonsillitis is.
If your child does get tonsillitis, the best way to help prevent it spreading to others in your family is to encourage him to follow good hygiene practices such as:
- Frequent hand-washing
- Not sharing glasses or other utensils
- Coughing or sneezing into his elbow or a tissue
Parents, remember that in most occasions, tonsillitis is not something to worry about and your child will recover in a few days.
However, if you child’s symptoms are severe and he finds it hard to breathe or swallow, then it’s best to seek medical attention without delay.
We hope you found this article useful. What do you do to ease your child’s discomfort when he or she has tonsillitis? Please share your tips with us by leaving a comment below.