Tonsil infections are a common childhood malady, bringing pain and discomfort to many children between the ages of five and 15. The result of inflamed tonsils, the condition – known as tonsillitis – is most often caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
What Causes Tonsillitis?
The tonsils are a pair of oval-shaped tissues in the back of the throat. The tonsils come into frequent contact with germs, making them prone to infection.
Viruses and bacteria, especially the Streptococcus bacterium (responsible for strep throat), are the most common causes of infection. Other causes include adenoviruses, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, enteroviruses and herpes simplex virus.
What Are the Symptoms of Tonsillitis?
Sore throat and swollen, inflamed tonsils that may appear red with a white or yellow coating are the most recognizable symptoms of a tonsil infection. Other signs include blisters on the throat, swollen glands in the neck or jaw, difficulty swallowing, fever, headache, chills, fatigue, ear pain and bad breath.
How Is Tonsillitis Treated?
Diagnosing a tonsil infection requires a physical examination with an in-depth exam of the throat and ears.
Surgical removal of the tonsils, known as a tonsillectomy, is for chronic cases that do not respond to other forms of medical treatment.
Home remedies are usually recommended for infections caused by a virus. Your child should get plenty of rest and stay hydrated with fluids. Warm broth or tea and cold Popsicles are particularly effective at soothing pain and discomfort.
Pain and fever can be controlled with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen (but avoid aspirin, which can be harmful in children). Throat lozenges or cough drops can be given to children over the age of four.
Call Comprehensive ENT at (804) 228-4480 for more information or to schedule an appointment.