Photo Credit: Everyday Health

When it comes to children getting sick, there are many diseases that attack a child’s health and can have a huge impact on their well-being. In many cases, it is important to spot it early on to prevent the side effects and start treating the actual problem. While tonsillitis used to be a serious issue in the old times, it is now easy to cure or remove if needed.

Tonsils are two lymph nodes found at the back of your throat. They function as a form of defense mechanism that aids in preventing your body from getting an infection. However, when tonsils become infected, the condition is called tonsillitis.

While tonsillitis can happen at any age, it is very common amongst children. Here’s everything you need to know about tonsillitis from how to spot it, to what to expect as well as the possible side effects:

Symptoms of Tonsillitis:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • A scratchy, hoarse voice
  • Headache
  • Ear pain
  • Stomach aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes in neck
  • White or yellow spots on the tonsils
  • Stiff neck
  • Feeling tired or sick
Photo credit: Kids Health

Why do we get tonsillitis? 

Since tonsils help prevent illnesses and infections from entering the body, they are more prone to get infected. Tonsillitis can be caused by a cold, virus, bacterial infection or even due to genetics.

There are different types of tonsillitis and according to their severity, each type requires different attention:

Acute tonsillitis 

The usual symptoms last around 3-4 days.

Treatment: It only require rest and drinking lots of fluids to ease the throat pain. However, if the symptoms last longer than 10 days or return frequently, you may need other forms of treatment.

Chronic tonsillitis

When it comes to chronic tonsillitis, you’ll find that symptoms seem to last longer. It is important to visit a doctor as chronic tonsillitis could lead to tonsil stones. This is caused due to dead cells, saliva or food building up in the crevices of the tonsils making it harden over time.

Treatment: In some cases an antibiotic can be prescribed by the doctor along with rest and fluids. However, when the case is severe, the doctor might recommend removing tonsils through a procedure called tonsillectomy.

Recurrent tonsillitis

If your child suffers from:

  • Tonsillitis 5-7 times in a year
  •  5 times in two consecutive years

Treatment: Your child most likely has recurrent tonsillitis. In most cases, it is recommended to have a tonsillectomy to prevent the damage from re-occurring.

When should I visit a doctor?

While the early stages of tonsillitis can usually be treated at home, it is important to see a doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • A severe sore throat
  • Heavy swelling inside the mouth and throat
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

Prevention: 

Due to the fact that the viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis are contagious, a strong prevention tool is good hygiene.

  • Washing hands on a regular basis especially before eating or after using the toilet.
  • Reduce food sharing or drinking out of the same cup or bottle.
  • Keep your child at home when diagnosed with tonsillitis.
  • Encourage your child to use a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Ask them to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.
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