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Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates

Otolaryngologists and Head & Neck Surgeons located in Lawrence and Ottawa, KS

Watching a child suffer from illness is one of the most painful experiences for parents, and tonsillitis is common, especially with children. If your child frequently has a sore throat or difficulty swallowing, they may have tonsillitis, a condition that our specialists at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates have plenty of experience treating. We know how to help our young patients feel comfortable during an exam, and we take the time to explain all treatment options to their parents. We want to get your child back on the road to health, so call and request an appointment at one of our offices in Lawrence or Ottawa.

Tonsillitis Q & A

What causes tonsillitis?

Tonsils are filter tissues that trap germs and viruses so your immune system can learn how to fight the germs that cause infections. They work as part of children’s immune systems but their activity goes away in the teen years and they shrink as you age.

The problem with children’s tonsils is that they can quickly become overloaded with bacteria or viruses.  When that happens, instead of helping your immune system, they become the source of infection.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is common in children but seldom occurs before the age of two. Symptoms may include:

  •     Red, swollen tonsils
  •     White or yellow patches on tonsils
  •     Sore throat
  •     Fever
  •     Pain or difficulty swallowing
  •     Swollen neck glands
  •     Ear pain

What complications are associated with tonsillitis?

When your child has symptoms of tonsillitis, our doctors encourage you to bring them in for a check-up, because frequent, severe, or ongoing infections can lead to:

  • Obstructed airways: This can lead to difficulty breathing or obstructive sleep apnea where breathing stops during sleep.
  • Tonsillar cellulitis: An infection that spreads deep into surrounding tissues
  • Peritonsillar abscess: An infection that causes pus to build up behind a tonsil

How is strep throat associated with tonsillitis?

Is it tonsillitis, strep throat, or a common sore throat? We know it’s hard to keep track of the differences, and there’s a good reason: strep is just one of the bugs that can cause a painful tonsillitis.

Strep infections can cause damage to other body organs such as the heart or the kidney, so it is the bug we want to treat rapidly, but all these bacteria and viruses can cause the tonsils to hurt and be infected.

The most important thing to know is that you should bring your child in for an exam when they have signs of tonsillitis or strep. Early treatment can help your child avoid potentially dangerous complications of strep infection, such as heart or kidney damage.

When does your child need a tonsillectomy?

We can treat tonsillitis with medication, rest, and plenty of fluids in some cases. But our doctors may recommend a tonsillectomy if your child has:

  • Enlarged tonsils: If they block the throat, making it hard to breathe and swallow. Mouth breathing, drooling, and snoring may be signs of enlarged tonsils
  • Recurrent infections: If your child has more than seven infections in a year or more than four or five infections yearly over two years.  This is a national guideline from ENT and Pediatric specialty organizations.

When your child has a sore throat, fever, or difficulty swallowing, call our board-certified specialists at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates and request an appointment.

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