Tonsil infections are very common in children. They occur when a virus or bacterium causes inflammation and infection. The tonsils become much less important by the mid-teens, and tonsil infections after this age are rare.
In addition to the pain associated with infection, the tonsils appear red and swollen. They often have a white, yellow or gray coating. Children may experience sore throat, fever, swollen glands, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, bad breath, drooling, headache, stomachache, irritability or lack of appetite.
Our doctors will look for these signs using an otoscope to examine the throat, nose and ears. We will probably check for strep throat with a throat swab during this examination. You’ll want to make sure your child gets lots of rest and liquids – warm broth and tea are especially helpful.
A saltwater gargle can help soothe the throat. Over-the-counter medications may be used for pain relief, but avoid giving young children aspirin. If strep throat is present, we’ll prescribe antibiotics. Severe or recurring infections may require a tonsillectomy (surgical removal of the tonsils).