Tonsillitis in children

What is tonsillitis?


The tonsils are almond-shaped structures on both sides of our throat, which help fight external infections and act as defense mechanisms. Tonsils are part of our lymphoid system. When the tonsils themselves become infected, it is called tonsillitis. Tonsillitis in children is a very common illness that usually affects children between 5 to 15 years of age.


According to research, tonsils play a role in the immune system and are the first stage of immunity. Exposure to bacteria or viruses On coming in contact with the infection, they start swelling and with pain due to which there is difficulty in swallowing saliva along with eating and drinking and fever can also come.


In general, tonsils can range from 2 to 2.5 centimeters, but they are larger at the time of puberty. Later they begin to reduce in size. There are many reasons for tonsillitis in children but usually, the tonsils are infected due to bacteria and viruses.


Tonsillitis in children


Type of Tonsillitis in Children or Adults –


1. Acute Tonsillitis


An inflammation of tonsillitis often occurs in combination with inflammation of the back of the throat ((tonsillopharyngitis)). It is particularly common in children and young adults and is mainly caused by viruses and group A streptococcus (bacteria). There will be fever, swelling, and a sore throat. Acute tonsillitis may also have a white or brown layer on the tonsils.

2. Chronic Tonsillitis –

If acute tonsillitis occurs repeatedly or lasts for more than three months, it can be chronic tonsillitis.

3. Acute Infectious Mononucleosis –


Here Epstein Barr virus is the cause of this tonsillitis. It causes sore throat, swelling, red rash, fever, and tiredness.

4. Peritonsillar abscess –


When the pus inside the tonsils spreads around by making way, then it is called peritonsillar (surrounding tonsils) abscess. It happens when tonsils are infected for a long time. If this happens, see a doctor immediately.

5. Strep Throat –


This tonsillitis is caused by the infection of Streptococcus bacteria. This can lead to complaints of foreign body sensation throat, sore throat, and fever.

6. Tonsils Stone/ tonsillolith–


Tissues sometimes form clumps of bacteria and food particles when the tonsils become infected. It is called tonsillolith or tonsil stone.

Read some of the main symptoms of tonsillitis –

Tonsillitis in Adults-


  1. Difficulty and pain during swallowing food (and even saliva in young children)
  2. Swollen glands in the neck (lymph nodes)
  3. Fever
  4. Changing voice, speech can also be slow.
  5. Sore throat and swollen tonsils.
  6. White, brown, or red spots on tonsils.
  7. Headache or stomachache.

Tonsillitis in Children-


If the child is unable to speak, these symptoms can indicate tonsillitis.

  1. The child will always be irritable.
  2. Will not eat anything
  3. Drooling of saliva while feeding because they have trouble swallowing.
  4. Mild fever.


See a doctor immediately if you have trouble breathing.

Causes of tonsillitis


Tonsillitis is usually caused by the virus, but sometimes bacteria can also cause it.

There are some common viruses that can cause tonsillitis-

  • Influenza virus
  • Adenovirus
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus – It makes breathing difficult.
  • Rhinovirus
  • Coronavirus – Severe breathing problems when infected can lead to the problem of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).


Bacteria that can cause tonsillitis-


Bacterial tonsillitis is mostly caused by Streptococcus bacteria, in addition to some other bacteria that can affect tonsils-

  • Chlamydia pneumonia
  • Neisseria Gonorrhoeae
  • Bordetella Pertussis
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia
  • Fusobacterium SP
  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus)


The problem of tonsillitis which is though common in children, many times it is us giving them tonsillitis as a gift. You must be feeling a little strange to hear this, but it is true to a large extent. Actually, a big reason for tonsillitis problems in children is the habit of eating food in the same utensil as them. Yes, you often make them sit with you to eat food to show love to children. With the same spoon that you are eating from, you start feeding the children. Unknowingly your love gives children the problem of tonsillitis in gifts.


There are other reasons as well. Drinking less water also increases the risk of tonsillitis. Small particles of food get stuck in the mouth (especially in the tonsils) while eating. After eating rinsing may remove some particles, but few may remain stuck in the throat especially in the crypts beneath the tonsils. Which can cause tonsillitis. Also, not changing toothbrushes too quickly can be a reason. Not changing the toothbrush too early or using an old poorly shaped brush can be a cause of tonsillitis. After brushing daily, the microbes are still stuck on tonsillar tissue. These microbes grow in number with time, so it is advisable to change toothbrushes every 2 months.

How to take care, avoid carelessness in tonsillitis –


If you want to prevent children from tonsillitis, then you should try that while eating together plates and spoons are different. Also, never feed the children with dirty hands. Due to this habit, germs that reach the child’s mouth cause the problem of tonsillitis.


We should take care of the hygiene of children and teach them the habit of washing hands frequently, especially after the toilet and before eating. The possibility of infection in children can be reduced to a great extent by the habit of not sharing the utensils with others. You can also ask to pay attention to hygiene in the child’s school. Advise the tonsillitis patient not to shake hands and tell them not to touch their belongings. After the detection of tonsillitis, change the toothbrush and soap. Please do not send the child to school if he/she has tonsillitis. Keep them indoors for a few days and teach them to cover their nose and mouth in case of sneezing. Every parent should pay attention to increasing their immunity to protect them from the disease.


This includes giving a balanced diet to the child and ensuring that they get a sufficient amount of fresh air and rest. If you feel that there is an infection in the upper respiratory tract of your child, immediately seek the advice of a doctor, so that the abscess formation can be avoided.

When you should see the doctor


Here are a few of the complications of tonsillitis-


  • Ear infections
  • Peritonsillar pus formation/quinsy
  • Sleep apnea
  • Breathing difficulty due to edema in the larynx.


See a doctor when you observe the following symptoms-

  • Having trouble swallowing food.
  • Sore throat for more than two days
  • Weakness, or fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment of tonsillitis


Care is required in both cases of viral or bacterial tonsillitis. In the case of viral tonsillitis, doctors recommend resting at home with supportive medication. In this case, taking care of the methods mentioned below gives relief in 5 to 10 days-

  • To fight infection, it is necessary for the body to stay hydrated, so drink water from time to time. Coconut water can also be taken.
  • Get maximum rest during the day and get enough sleep at night.
  • Do not eat spicy and oily food. Use lukewarm water for drinking.
  • Gargle twice a day by adding a pinch of salt to lukewarm water. This will cure throat infections. Do not eat or swallow the water after gargling.
  • Do not consume more citrus fruits. Stay away from cigarettes. Smoke can increase throat irritation.
  • Do not give aspirin medicine to children at the time of cold, cold, fever. This can cause Ray Syndrome.

When is surgery necessary for tonsillitis?


Tonsillitis Surgery, which is called a tonsillectomy, can be done to get rid of tonsillitis.

Surgery may be performed if there is bacterial or chronic tonsillitis. Surgery may be necessary even after repeated attacks of tonsillitis. Apart from this, there are some problems for which if difficult to control, surgery can be an option, such as-


  • If pus formation is there even after taking antibiotics.
  • Having problems with breathing (eg. Sleep apnoea)
  • Severe pain in the throat due to which it becomes difficult to eat and drink.
  • Frequent (more than 5 times a year for two consecutive years) tonsillitis attacks.

The Bottom Line


Tonsillitis, its diagnosis, and treatment require an interdisciplinary team approach, including a proper history, physicians, ENT specialists to get proper treatment. Know the symptoms of tonsillitis both in adults and children. If you know the symptoms of tonsillitis you can take the help of an ENT doctor to confirm the diagnosis and appropriate next step. Sometimes surgery becomes essential to save the patient from unnecessary pain, leaves, and multiple medications. Also, never self-treat or ignore tonsillitis and avoid yourself from its dreaded complications.

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