The tonsils are part of the body’s immune system, made up of two lumps of tissue at the back of the throat. These two lumps sit on either side of the throat and trap bacteria and viruses that are breathed in. This function helps young children build up immunity and fight off infections.
Unfortunately, sometimes these troublesome germs can attack the tonsils and cause an infection called tonsillitis. Read on to learn more about the symptoms & treatment of tonsillitis in kids.
What is Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis usually occurs because of a bacterial or viral infection. The tonsils are designed to keep these germs out of the body, but they sometimes get overrun. When this happens, the tonsils will swell, which can be quite painful.
It can affect people of all ages, but it is much more common in young children. It is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing, touching, kissing, or sharing food. As younger kids are fond of sharing germs, daycare centers and kindergartens are areas where tonsillitis can be quickly spread.
You can usually tell if a child has inflamed tonsils as they will be visibly bigger than usual and may have yellow or white patches on them. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Swollen lymph glands in the neck
How Is Tonsillitis Treated?
The first thing the doctor will do is to try and determine the source of the infection. They will usually take a swab from the tonsils or do a blood test. It is important to check because if tonsillitis is due to a viral infection, then antibiotics will not be an effective treatment.
Treatment for tonsillitis aims to reduce the inflammation and discomfort of the symptoms. Acetaminophen or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce the swelling, fever, and headache. Please speak to your doctor or pharmacists before giving your kids this type of medicine, as some types might not be suitable for your child. In the case of a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics.
Can I Help My Child Feel Better?
There are lots of things that you can do at home to reduce the pain. Your child may not want to eat or drink due to the pain, but it is essential that the child stays hydrated and keeps eating. Liquids and soft foods will be much easier to swallow. Popsicles, soups, sweetened teas, ice cream, or smoothies are all excellent options.
Older kids can use throat lozenges and do salt water gargles. You could even add some honey to the tea to help soothe their sore throats.
In all cases, they should be kept off school and spend time resting. Also, make sure that they regularly wash their hands and use their own towels, cutlery, and crockery while they have symptoms to avoid spreading the infection to other members of the family.