Treatment for Enlarged Tonsils in Kids

by Sharon Hopkins


Tonsils and adenoids are glands found in the body, which play a role similar to lymph nodes. These glands primarily fight infections entering the body. This job of fighting infections is largely played out in the early stages of life for a person - as the child grows, these glands gradually stop playing such an important role.

Enlarged tonsils or tonsillitis is the infection of the tonsil glands. These infections can happen due to viruses or bacteria. Tonsil infections are usually very common in children, and one of their common symptoms is enlarged tonsils. Chronic infections of the adenoids can also lead to infections in the Eustachian tube (the tube that connects the ear and nose) and eventually to infections of the inner ear. Mononucleosis and measles have also been known to cause tonsillitis.

Other common symptoms of tonsillitis in kids are:

  • Difficulty swallowing due to swollen glands
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • A white or yellow coating on larger-than normal tonsils
  • Visible swelling on the outside
  • Stiff neck
  • Inner infections and possible temporary hearing loss

The infection is usually diagnosed with a physical examination of the patient. Then, depending on the seriousness of the infection, treatment for enlarged tonsils or tonsillitis in kids could be a tonsillectomy or an adenoid removal surgery. If the child suffers from chronic tonsil infections, doctors usually suggest surgery. These organs don't affect the child's immunity, especially once he becomes an adult.

Though tonsil and adenoid removal in children is a common treatment, there are other ways to treat these infections too. Antibiotics can be used to treat these infections, and in this case, it becomes important to let the drug run through its entire course for effective treatment. For viral infections, no antibiotics are used. You simply need to ensure proper hydration and rest for the child till the infection washes itself out. Make sure the child drinks plenty of fluids, and if the child cannot eat, let him have cool ice popsicles, Jello or flavored gelatin, applesauce, fruit juices and soups.

Occasionally there might be an abscess on the tonsils or tonsil stones may have formed. In such cases, stronger medication like steroids might be prescribed. Steroids are also prescribed if the infection is the result of mononucleosis. Aspiration of the abscess or removal of stones are treatment options too.

Sometimes the removal of these glands is also recommended to prevent a possible development of cancer when the child grows up.

Reference:

  1. http://www.vcu.edu/ent/docs/tonsils.pdf
  2. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/tonsilsAdenoids.cfm

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