Tonsils: The Who, What, When, and How?


There are a million things that can go wrong with our bodies, and it makes even harder when one of them happens to your kid. That’s because there’s nothing worse than seeing your child suffer and not knowing exactly what’s wrong. Throat pain… fever… chills… stiff neck.  It could be anything. But if these symptoms keep on coming back, it may be time to have their tonsils checked out by their doctor.

What Are Tonsils and How Do They Become Infected?

Tonsils are the two lymph nodes on each side of the back of your throat. They serve as the first line of defense against viruses and bacteria that enter your mouth but they aren’t immune to these foreign agents. Tonsillitis, an infection of the tonsils, is typically caused by viruses that enter through your mouth such as the common cold and Epstein Barr. They can also become infected by bacteria such as Streptoccocal bacteria, the bacteria that causes strep throat.

Whose Tonsils Get Infected? Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

Infection of the tonsils can happen at any age, however it is commonly diagnosed in children ranging from preschool age through mid-teens. This is because children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed yet, so it is easier for them to catch infections in general. Tonsillitis is contagious, along with the viruses and bacteria that cause it.

How Can I Tell if My Child’s Tonsils Are Infected?

Talk to your child and ask them how they’re feeling. If they complain about a sore throat or pain and discomfort when they swallow, check their tonsils to see if they look red and swollen. If infected, they may also have a white or yellowish coating (or spots) on them. Other things to check for are bad breath, swollen glands, and fever.

When Should Tonsils Be Removed?

It may be time for a tonsillectomy if your child’s tonsils keep on getting affected or they obstruct their ability to breathe. Also, if their sleep is disrupted from sleep apnea or snoring, you might want to consider removing them.

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