Worried your toddler may need to have their tonsils removed? Tonsillitis is a common health problem in children and it occurs anywhere from the toddler through to the teenage years.
While tonsil removal is a very simple and safe procedure, it can still be concerning as a parent, especially when itâ€™s affecting younger children. If you are concerned your toddler may need to have their tonsils removed, below youâ€™ll discover more about the condition and the tell-tale signs to look out for. However, the information below should only be used as a guideline and itâ€™s important to seek advice from a doctor to have the condition correctly diagnosed.
What Is Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is a common medical condition which occurs when the tonsils become inflamed. The tonsils are oval shaped lymph nodes found hanging down at the back of the throat and theyâ€™re used to filter out germs.
If a virus is too strong, the tonsils can swell up, making it difficult to swallow. What you may not realize is that thereâ€™s actually several types of tonsillitis. Chronic tonsillitis is where the condition causes symptoms for 3 months or longer. Recurrent tonsillitis is another type, which can cause a child to have inflamed tonsils many times throughout the course of a year.
Another thing you may not know is that tonsillitis can be contagious. As itâ€™s caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it can be passed on to others via coughing, touching or sneezing. Itâ€™s easy to pick up the condition and is especially easy to spread through daycare centers.
What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?
Thereâ€™s a few tell-tale symptoms of tonsillitis you can look out for. These includes:
- Painful ears
- Refusal to eat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
These are just some of the symptoms to look out for, but the refusal to eat and difficulty swallowing tend to be the most common symptoms experienced. As you know, toddlers can be very fussy eaters, so refusal to eat isnâ€™t always linked to tonsillitis right away. Therefore, itâ€™s important to look out for a combination of symptoms to determine whether tonsillitis could be the culprit.
As the symptoms of tonsillitis can also point to many other types of illnesses, a doctor will need to assess your toddler to determine whether they are suffering with tonsillitis or a different type of illness.
Can It Be Prevented?
Obviously, prevention is better than a cure, but is there a way to prevent your toddler from developing tonsillitis?
As itâ€™s caused by a viral or bacterial infection, the best way to prevent the condition is to limit your childâ€™s exposure to other sick children. This is easier said than done however. Toddlerâ€™s are renowned for frequently picking up colds and kindly passing them on to the rest of the household. So, preventing the condition can be pretty tough.
You could try to encourage frequent hand washing and ensuring your toddler knows not to share drinking or eating utensils with other children. Chatting with their daycare providers to ensure they encourage strict hygiene rules is also recommended.
Another thing which can help is building up your toddlerâ€™s immune system. This means feeding them a healthy diet and ensuring they get plenty of fresh air.
Keep in mind that even if you follow all of these preventative precautions, itâ€™s still going to be extremely difficult to prevent tonsillitis in toddlers.
How Is Tonsillitis Treated?
The treatment for tonsillitis will depend entirely upon the type of infection which caused the condition, along with its severity. Most tonsillitis cases in toddlers clear up within 3-4 days. However, itâ€™s possible it could last for up to two weeks.
Depending upon the type of infection present, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Itâ€™s important your toddler takes the entire course of antibiotics if prescribed, even if it appears the infection has cleared up before the antibiotics have finished. This is because although the symptoms may have disappeared, the virus itself may still be lurking and may not be completely wiped out.
Besides antibiotics, thereâ€™s a few things you can do to help ensure your little one is more comfortable until the tonsillitis has gone. These include:
Keeping Them Home â€“ If your toddler attends daycare, itâ€™s a good idea to keep them home until the tonsillitis has cleared up. Not only will this help to keep them ore comfortable, but it will prevent the condition from spreading to other children too.
Offer Plenty Of Fluids â€“ Offering frequent cold drinks and ice pops can really help to soothe the throat. You can also offer warm drinks too such as warm water with honey and lemon. This is actually an excellent remedy as the lemon really helps reduce mucus, while the honey soothes a sore throat and provides plenty of antioxidants which can help fight off the virus.
However, if your little one is under one year old, itâ€™s important to avoid feeding them honey, but for toddlers it should be absolutely fine. You can check with your doctor if youâ€™re unsure.
Keep The Air Humidified â€“ Adding a humidifier into your toddlers bedroom will help them to sleep better while theyâ€™re ill. The extra moisture can really help to lessen irritation in the throat too. Itâ€™s important to ensure you change the water within the humidifier each day however as otherwise it could lead to the growth of mold and bacteria.
Treating Severe Cases Of Tonsillitis
In some cases, tonsillitis can be a little more severe. If your toddler does develop either a very severe case of tonsillitis, or it keeps reoccurring, they may need to have their tonsils removed.
Known as a tonsillectomy, itâ€™s a very common and straightforward procedure and your toddler would only usually need to stay in hospital for a few hours afterwards. The entire procedure takes around 35-40 minutes and no cuts are made on the childâ€™s skin.
Thereâ€™s actually a second type of procedure which the surgeon may prefer to perform, known as a intracapsular tonsillectomy. This procedure is a little different in the fact it does leave behind some of the tissue of the tonsil. The tissue continues to protect the throatâ€™s muscles.
While tonsillectomies were pretty much a go-to solution in the past, these days they arenâ€™t performed as frequently. This is because doctors have started to understand more about the role of tonsils in filtering out harmful bacteria. So, youâ€™ll only be recommended to get your toddlerâ€™s tonsils removed if they are causing reoccurring or serious issues.
Overall, tonsillitis is pretty common and itâ€™s usually really simple to treat. However, itâ€™s always advisable to get your little one seen by a doctor both to diagnose the condition and provide the best course of treatment.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.