Pediatric Services Raleigh NC
Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the tonsils- tissue that is present on both sides in the back of the throat. The tonsils are part of our immune system and protect the body from infections that may enter through the mouth and help localize these infections.
What Causes It?
Tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Doctors usually can’t tell the difference just by looking at the tonsils but can detect bacteria like group A streptococcus by doing a rapid strep test in the office or by doing a throat culture.
Is It Contagious?
The bacteria and viruses that cause tonsillitis tend to hang out in the nose & throat, so normal activities like sneezing, coughing or shaking hands can easily spread the infection from one person to another.
What Puts My Child At Risk of Getting it?
Exposure to a known case of tonsillitis increases chances of getting the infection.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, tender swollen glands in the neck, headache, stomachache, loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting.
When Should I Seek Help?
Call your pediatrician, if your child has symptoms consistent with tonsillitis.
What Will My Doctor Do?
How is it Diagnosed?
Rapid strep test and a throat culture can be done to check for group A strep that requires prompt treatment with antibiotics.
What is the Treatment?
Treatment of tonsillitis depends on whether it is caused by a virus or a bacteria like group A streptococcus. Viral tonsillitis will get better on it’s own and does not require treatment with antibiotics. Soft foods, liquids like soups, milk shakes, ice pops, smoothies, ice cream can be soothing to the child’s throat. Tylenol or Motrin can be used for throat pain or fever. Do not use aspirin or other products that contain aspirin because these can put kids at risk for serious complications like Reye syndrome.
Strep throat requires treatment with antibiotics. Penicillin is the drug of choice unless your child is allergic to penicillin. Make sure to complete the course of antibiotics so symptoms do not return and to prevent other health problems. Change your child’s toothbrush after 24 hours of starting antibiotics.
For children who get recurrent tonsillitis (5-7 infections in 12 months) or frequent recurrent infections for 2-3 years, doctors might recommend a tonsillectomy to remove the tonsils.
It is very important to teach the kids about proper hand washing and coughing or sneezing in their shirt sleeve. Good hand hygiene can cut down their chances of getting tonsillitis. Do not share any food or drink with the infected child. Wash dishes, utensils and drinking cups in hot soapy water after each use. Prompt treatment of Strep throat with antibiotics cuts down the spread to other contacts.
A professional should always be consulted when you believe your child has a case of Tonsillitis. At Durant Road Pediatrics’ convenient office located at 10880 Durant Road, Suite 215, Raleigh NC we take the extra time and effort to ensure the safety and comfort of your child. Contact us today to have Dr. Arora diagnose, treat and explain your Child’s illness and how to prevent future occurrences.