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My poor little boy has just been diagnosed with tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils). Tonsillitis can make children very unwell, especially if it spreads and infects the ears too.
George was very ill with a high temperature of 41, as well as developing breathing problems. A short stay in hospital has sorted him out and he is now on a course of antibiotics. I know he is getting better as he is getting louder and misbehaving!
But why do children develop tonsillitis? Actually some adults contract it too. The tonsils are two small glands located at the back of the throat behind the tongue. They act as a barrier against infection by isolating any infection and preventing it from spreading further into the body. This is why it is common in children, as their immune system is still developing. The tonsils lose this ability when the immune system fully develops hence why adults are rarely affected.
Symptoms include a sore throat which hurts when swallowing, coughing, a headache and a high temperature of over 38C. Symptoms usually pass within 3-4 days but visit your doctor if symptoms last longer than 4 days or are so severe that eating and drinking is not possible or breathing difficulties develop.
Tonsillitis is spread easily so you will have to keep your child away from school or nursery until the symptoms have passed. You can treat the symptoms of tonsillitis by administering paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relieve pain, getting plenty of bed rest and encouraging your child to drink plenty of fluids. Antibiotics may be required if it is caused by a bacterial infection, especially if it spreads to the middle ear.
Removing the tonsils is now usually only recommended if you or your child has several severe episodes of tonsillitis over a long period, or if repeated episodes disrupt your normal activities.
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