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ent4kids - Murali Mahadevan

Private Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery, Paediatrics

Tonsillitis and Tonsillar Hypertrophy

Your tonsils are the oval-shaped lumps of tissue that lie on both sides of the back of the throat. Sometimes tonsils can become inflamed (red and swollen with white patches on them) as the result of a bacterial or viral infection; this is known as tonsillitis. A large proportion of infection, 70%, is virally mediated. However the bacterial  Streptococcus  tonsillitis will need antibiotic treatment due to the risk of rheumatic fever, and glomerular nephritis in some children.
If you have tonsillitis, you will have a very sore throat and maybe swollen glands on the side of your neck, a fever, headache or changes to your voice. In some cases, pus can be seen on the tonsils.
Tonsillitis mostly occurs in young children and  can be a recurrent condition (it keeps coming back).
If the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will be prescribed. If the tonsillitis is caused by a virus, treatment will usually consist of medications to relieve symptoms such as a pain killer.
If tonsillitis occurs often over a period of two or more years, then surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be considered.
Tonsillar enlargement can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Children often snore loudly, some have obstructive breathing when they sleep. Poor quality sleep can result in a child with poor learning, irritability, hyperactivity, behavioural changes and lethargy. A sleep study or Oximetry study can be useful to assess the significance of obstruction.

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This page was last updated at 2:57PM on August 25, 2021.