Dr. Marlowe, a Pediatric ENT Specialist, can help you determine if your child has tonsillitis. This condition is inflammation of the tonsils, which are two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat, one tonsil on each side. Signs and symptoms include swollen tonsils, sore throat, difficulty swallowing and tender lymph nodes on the sides of the neck. Most cases are caused by infection with a common virus, but bacterial infections also may cause tonsillitis.
Because the appropriate treatment depends on the cause, it’s important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis. Surgery to remove tonsils, once a common procedure to treat this condition, is usually performed only when bacterial tonsillitis occurs frequently, doesn’t respond to other treatments or causes serious complications.
This condition most commonly affects children between preschool ages and the mid-teenage years. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Red, swollen tonsils
- White or yellow coating or patches on the tonsils.
- Sore throat
- Sore head and neck.
- Difficult or painful swallowing.
- Enlarged, tender glands (lymph nodes) in the neck.
- A scratchy, muffled or throaty voice.
- Bad breath
- Stomachache, particularly in younger children.
- Stiff neck
In young children who are unable to describe how they feel, signs of tonsillitis may include:
- Drooling due to difficult or painful swallowing.
- Refusal to eat.
- Unusual fussiness.
It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis if your child has symptoms that may indicate tonsillitis. Call our Marlowe MD Pediatric office if your child is experiencing:
- A sore throat that doesn’t go away within 24 to 48 hours.
- Painful or difficult swallowing.
- Extreme weakness, fatigue or fussiness.
Get immediate care if your child has any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Extreme difficulty swallowing.
Tonsillitis Causes & Prevention – Marlowe, MD ENT
Marlowe, MD ENT offers the following information to better understand the cause and prevention of tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is most often caused by common viruses, but bacterial infections can also be the cause. The most common bacteria causing tonsillitis is Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus), the bacterium that causes strep throat. Other strains of strep and other bacteria also may cause tonsillitis. The tonsils are the immune system’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses that enter your mouth. This function may make the tonsils particularly vulnerable to infection and inflammation. However, the tonsils immune system function declines after puberty – a factor that may account for the rare cases in adults. Risk factors for tonsillitis include:
- Young age. Tonsillitis most often occurs in children, but rarely in those younger than age 2. Tonsillitis caused by bacteria is most common in children ages 5 to 15, while viral tonsillitis is more common in younger children.
- Frequent exposure to germs. School-age children are in close contact with their peers and frequently exposed to viruses or bacteria that can cause tonsillitis.
Inflammation or swelling of the tonsils from frequent or ongoing (chronic) cases can cause complications such as:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Disrupted breathing during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea).
- Infection that spreads deep into surrounding tissue (tonsillar cellulitis).
- Infection that results in a collection of pus behind a tonsil (peritonsillar abscess).
The germs that cause viral and bacterial tonsillitis are contagious. Therefore, the best prevention is to practice good hygiene. Teach your child to:
- Wash his or her hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the toilet and before eating.
- Avoid sharing food, drinking glasses, water bottles or utensils.
- Replace his or her toothbrush after being diagnosed with tonsillitis.
To help your child prevent the spread of a bacterial or viral infection to others:
- Keep your child at home when he or she is ill.
- Ask your doctor when it’s alright for your child to return to school.
- Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue or, when necessary, into his or her elbow.
- Teach your child to wash his or her hands after sneezing or coughing.
Tonsillitis Treatments In Sarasota, Florida
Tonsillitis can be quite draining and disconcerting, particularly if its cause is not fully identified. If you or your child notice any of the symptoms of this disease, we urge you to contact our center as soon as possible. To learn more about what Drs. Marlowe & Houle can do for you, make an appointment by calling (941) 379-3277 or selecting and filling out the appropriate form below.