Pediatric Tonsillitis

October 19, 2020
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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If your child has been complaining lately about discomfort in their mouth — or being fussier than usual — you may be concerned about its root cause. In fact, anything that causes them to experience pain can become a cause for alarm when it becomes consistent, and you can’t figure out what it is. Such can be the case with pediatric tonsillitis. Although it’s a common condition, it may take a while for parents to figure out it’s what’s causing their child to act out of the ordinary. So, how can you learn to recognize signs and symptoms? What can you do to provide the best form of treatment? And, is there anything you can do to prevent this from happening again?

What is pediatric tonsillitis?

The tonsils are oval-shaped glands in the back of the throat — one on each side of the mouth. They assist the body’s immune system by trapping bacteria and preventing infections. However, sometimes, these glands become infected themselves. As a result, they become inflamed. This is known as tonsillitis. In some cases, the infection is sudden, causing acute tonsillitis. Yet, other patients experience recurring infections in their tonsils. This is known as chronic tonsillitis. Both conditions are common in children.

Signs and Symptoms of Tonsillitis

The symptoms of tonsillitis may vary from person to person. However, the most common ones include:

  • Sore throat
  • Scratchy, muffled, or throaty voice
  • Bad breath
  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Red & swollen tonsils
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Painful swallowing
  • Enlarged, tender glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Snoring
  • Drooling
  • Fussiness
  • Refusing to eat
  • Unusual fussiness

If your child also experiences breathing difficulties, seek immediate emergency care.

Causes of Tonsillitis

There are several factors that could contribute to a child developing tonsillitis. These include any allergens, viruses, or bacteria that affect the throat. The most common ones include:

  • Strep throat
  • Sharing food or drinks with a sick person
  • Droplets from a sick person’s coughs or sneezes
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Secondhand smoke

Diagnosis and Treatment for Tonsillitis

Pediatric tonsillitis is diagnosed by a physical examination. The doctor will look at your child’s throat, as well as inside their ears and nose. The physician will also palpate your child’s neck to determine whether their lymph nodes are swollen. If the pediatrician suspects tonsillitis, they will likely conduct a throat swab test or blood testing. If your child is diagnosed with tonsillitis — and it was caused by a bacterial infection — the doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

If a child keeps experiencing chronic tonsillitis, the best course of action would be to have them undergo surgery to remove their tonsils. This is known as a tonsillectomy, and it’s typically recommended for children who have had more than seven episodes of tonsillitis within a year.

The doctor will also recommend at-home care, including the following:

  • Resting
  • Staying hydrated
  • Gargling with salt water
  • Sucking on lozenges
  • Installing an air humidifier in the child’s bedroom
  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers
  • Eliminating irritants — such as secondhand smoke or staying away from a sick family member

Preventing Pediatric Tonsillitis

The best way to prevent pediatric tonsillitis is to practice good hygiene. Implement the following policies at home, and advise your children to do them regardless of where they are:

  • If your child has to cough or sneeze, teach them to do it on the crook of their elbow instead of on their hands.
  • Washing their hands frequently — especially before handling food and after going to the bathroom.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with their friends, and even family members if there’s reason to believe they’re sick.
  • If your child is sick, keep them at home. Any type of illness will spread like wildfire at a daycare or school.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush if they’ve recently been sick and are now feeling better.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.