Helping Your Child Through Tonsillitis

Gone are the days when children routinely had their tonsils removed if they had recurring sore throats. Today’s approach is more conservative, with tonsillectomy reserved for severe and chronic cases of tonsil inflammation. . 

South Louisiana Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastics (SLENT) has multiple locations in Mandeville, Slidell, and Hammond, Louisiana. The SLENT team can give you a game plan to help your child through tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis 101

Tonsils are located at the back of the throat, and can easily become inflamed, especially if there is any sort of bacterial infection in the ears, nose, or throat that migrates to the tonsils. Many cases of tonsillitis are caused by Streptococcal bacteria — the same organisms that cause strep throat

Helping your child with tonsillitis symptoms 

Tonsillitis has several common symptoms. Your child may complain from one or more of the following:  

An extremely sore throat 

You can help your child with a sore throat by giving them age-approved numbing agents in the form of a spray or lozenge to help reduce the pain. You’ll need to make sure they can’t choke on a lozenge. Some manufacturers make lollipops designed to soothe a sore throat, but these can also be a choking hazard and shouldn’t be given to very young or very sleepy children.

Trouble using their voice

Your child may have trouble talking due to their tonsillitis. Their voice can be scratchy, rough, or even almost silenced due to pain and swelling. Give them a way to easily get your attention if needed, such as a low whistle or a bell. You’ll be able to respond quickly when needed.

Difficulty eating

Getting a child to eat when they have tonsillitis can be extremely difficult. Cold travels the same pathways as pain signals, so go for frosty smoothies and milkshakes. Popsicles and ice cream are also options. You can make your own healthy versions if needed.

Persistent fever 

Some children with tonsillitis, especially if it’s caused by strep throat migrating to the tonsils, experience a stubborn fever that won’t go away. With their doctor’s approval, consider switching back and forth between an ibuprofen-based over-the-counter drug like Motrin and an acetaminophen-based drug like Tylenol.

Swelling of the inflamed tonsils

Swelling can cause everything about tonsillitis to feel worse for your child, as it constricts the airway, vocal chords, and esophagus. This increases pain and discomfort. Ibuprofen-based drugs also are anti-inflammatories, meaning they can help reduce swelling as well.

Chronic tonsillitis

If tonsillitis is caused by a bacterium, we’re likely to recommend a course of antibiotics, which can speed up your child’s ability to fight off the infection and relieve symptoms faster. If tonsillitis keeps coming back over and over (multiple times each year), it may be time to talk to our team about a tonsillectomy to eliminate the issue permanently.

Tonsillectomies are a minor surgery with a typically swift recovery, and home care for your child is similar to helping them with tonsillitis symptoms. Your doctor can go over the details with you in person before you make the best choice for your child.

Is your child exhausted from constantly battling tonsillitis? We can help. Get in touch with the SLENT team by visiting our contact page.

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