2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
A cold? A microbe? A simple sore throat or tonsillitis? Here are the symptoms to look out for and how to treat them.
The tonsils and other tissues at the back of a child's throat play an important role in defending their body against bacterial infections. These tissues are indeed a small part of the immune system.
Most sore throats are caused by the common cold. The common cold in children usually lasts three to five days. The child should be given fluids to prevent dehydration, acetaminophen given at the recommended dosage to lower fever and relieve pain. Do not use (expensive) throat sprays or throat lozenges that may contain ingredients that may cause side effects. To ease a sore throat in a young child, an occasional teaspoon of corn syrup can be given.
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
The most common bacterium that infects the tonsils is streptococcus, which causes strep throat. Tonsillitis is an infection of the palatine tonsils that can occur at any age. It is more common in fall and winter. It manifests itself in particular bysevere sore throat, red tonsils with white dots, tender lymph nodes in the neck, high fever, hoarse voice and foul breath. If the infection is not treated properly, it can spread and cause an abscess in the throat or neck. The tonsils can become so swollen that they obstruct the upper airway. This causes stuffy or runny nose, hoarseness of voice, mouth breathing, loud snoring or irregular breathing at night (sleep apnea), restless sleep, bedwetting, daytime drowsiness and even heart and lung function disorders.
You must consult your child's pediatrician, who will probably prescribe a ten-day course of antibiotics. The child is no longer contagious after the first day of treatment. If symptoms worsen, contact the doctor. If the child starts drooling or has trouble breathing or swallowing, take them to the emergency room of a pediatric hospital. If the child has an abscess, the otolaryngologist (ENT) will need to perform the drainage. Antibiotics will be prescribed. Sometimes the focus of the bacterial infection is too deep to react to antibiotics and the tonsillitis becomes chronic and recurrent. The tonsils or adenoids no longer function normally and it is sometimes necessary to remove the tonsils or adenoids.
Surgeons have been performing tonsillectomies for nearly 100 years. The procedure used to be common in the past, but today it is mainly performed in the event of airway obstruction and recurrent infections. However, it is still common in children and young adults. As adenoids usually disappear in adolescence, adenoidectomy is normally limited to children under the age of ten.
Tonsillectomy takes about 45 minutes and is performed by the otolaryngologist. The child is placed under general anesthesia. Most children are discharged the same day as the operation, but children under three and patients with sleep apnea or conditions that could cause complications remain hospitalized after the operation. There is a low risk (two percent) of late bleeding between the fourth and eighth day after surgery. Surgery patients should therefore recover at home for at least 10 days and drink plenty to prevent dehydration.
Side effects may occur temporarily after surgery, including high-pitched nasal voice, regurgitation of liquids from the nose, nasal congestion, low fever, nightmares, bad breath, sore throat, pain in the ear when swallowing and whitish membranes in the throat. But in the long term,patients are he althier and not more prone to infections.
What role do the tonsils play?
The tonsils and other tissues at the back of the child's throat play an important role in defending the body against bacterial infections. These tissues make up a small part of the immune system. They are formed of the adenoids above the palate and at the back of the nose, the lingual tonsil at the back of the tongue and the two palatine tonsils located on either side of the palate. One can easily observe the palatine tonsils with a flashlight. Tonsils and adenoids are useful when functioning normally. But it may be better for the child to have them removed when they cause problems and do not respond to medical treatments.
Text reproduced with the permission of Montreal Children's Hospital.