What You Need To Know About Your Child's Tonsils
Tonsillectomy used to be a popular treatment just a couple of decades ago. It was nothing for a throat infection or a breathing problem to be solved with the removal of tonsils and adenoids. Now, these treatments are considered more extreme for solving these health problems and aren't recommended as much. As a parent, you need to know if it is appropriate to have your child's adenoids or tonsils removed and what to expect.
Myths About Tonsils You Must Know
- Myth: Tonsils do not serve any purpose.
- Not true. In fact, they are an important part of the immune system.
- Myth: Tonsils make your child sick.
- Respiratory viruses are just a part of growing up and your child would be dealing with these bugs with or without tonsils.
- Myth: Large tonsils are swollen tonsils.
- There isn't a normal size for tonsils, and just because the tonsils look bigger than someone else's doesn't mean they are swollen. Large tonsils by themselves are not a reason to have them removed.
Tonsillitis and Enlarged Adenoid Symptoms
If you feel like your child is always getting a sore throat or having trouble breathing, you may be dealing with a tonsil or adenoid problem. It can be difficult to figure out if your child has tonsillitis or the flu without the proper medical treatment and tests. You can look for these symptoms to give you an idea, though:
- Difficulty swallowing
- White or yellow spots on the tonsils
- Swollen gland along the neck
- Red, swollen, visible tonsils
How is Tonsillitis Treated?
The severity of the condition will depend on what treatment is necessary. If the child has a history of tonsillitis, you should take them to see a doctor at the earliest possibility. In addition, if swollen, sore tonsils persist, medical intervention is necessary. Remember, an infection left untreated can become an abscess and create intense pain in the tonsils.
The doctor will determine if tonsillitis is present by examining the throat and taking a throat culture for testing. Usually, the test results are immediate. If the patient has tonsillitis, a course of antibiotics are usually prescribed and relief should follow within a few days.
Do You Need to Consider Surgery?
This varies depending on the child's medical history and the doctor's opinion. Generally, you can expect the doctor to recommend surgery when one or more of the following conditions are present:
- The adenoid is enlarged enough to distort normal speech
- Repeat sore throats or tonsillitis that doesn't respond to medication
- Lymph nodes under the jaw are swollen even after antibiotics
- Repeat sinus or ear infections due to the swollen adenoid
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Don't assume that swollen, red tonsils means your child has to have surgery. Instead, make an appointment with your ear nose and throat doctor and let them decide.