What To Do About Severe Throat Infections In Children

By Tomomi Nagase

Is tonsillitis life-threatening to your child? In most cases, no. However in the case of chronic tonsillitis, it can really make your child extremely miserable. Severe cases bring about a very painful sore throat and swollen glands at the back of the mouth, reducing the size of the throat cavity. High fevers usually follow leaving your child bedridden for days.

Tonsillitis generally begins with your child complaining that their throat hurts and they suffer from a loss of appetite. As the infection sets in, a high fever generally ensues and this goes on for a day, at most two. If you inspect your child's throat, you will most likely see inflamed and red or purple throat opening (a normal throat is usually reddish pink in color). You might also discover puss-covered and overly-enlarged glands if the infection is bad enough. In the case of severe tonsillitis, your child may suffer from a loss of voice due to the swollen glands. Some children have minor breathing difficulties because of the swelling and thus have an uneasy periods of sleep.

Since tonsillitis is quite a common occurrence especially with children under 10 years of age, you do not have to worry too much as it will pass and it is not life threatening. However you will need to make sure the child's fever does not run too high as that can caught severe brain and organ damage. Paracetamol is a good way to keep the fever down while drinking a lot of water is vital. While eating and swallowing will be difficult, you can help your child by giving him or her foods that are easy to take down and digest. Yogurt, oatmeal, porridge and some bread are all great examples of this. Most children love ice-cream and this is the perfect time for them to have it, as having something cold will ease the swelling of the tonsils. As tonsillitis can either be caused by bacteria or a virus, you should quarantine your child during this period and prevent him or her from coming into close contact with other children as the infection might spread.

In general, the symptoms only lasts for a few days at most but if it persists, you will need to take your child to your doctor. For severe cases of tonsillitis, your doctor will normally prescribe the child with a dose of antibiotics (for bacterial-based infections). The treatment will thereby run its course for about a week wherein your child should be well recovered. It is important that your child completes his or her dose of antibiotics however or it might not be quite as effective the next time another dose is required. If the symptoms persists after this time, your doctor will either prescribe a stronger dose of antibiotics or suggest other alternatives such as surgical removal of the tonsils, and this procedure is called "tonsillectomy". The doctor will need to run a few tests to determine if it is absolutely necessary because tonsillectomies are expensive and most children do not require it. As they grow older their condition generally improves.

Antibiotics are only good if it's a bacterial infection however. If the cause is viral, then there is nothing that can be done about it. Be sure your child gets plenty of rest and fluids and let his immune system take care of the rest. In the case of chronic tonsillitis, the doctor might recommend your child have his tonsils removed via minor surgery. This is necessary in some cases as antibiotics lose their potency over long periods of time the bacteria can become immune to the drug as well.

In the event that a tonsillectomy is required, your child will need to be admitted to hospital for day surgery to have the tonsils removed. We all know how expensive hospital bills are thus the ear and throat specialist would not suggest this route unless it was the only option left. Your child would be required to be under anesthesia to numb the pain during operation and will not be able to eat solid foods for a couple of weeks after that. The adenoids at the back of the throat are cut off and your child should no longer suffer from sore throats once recovered. To prepare for the surgery, your child should fast for 12 hours prior to getting to the hospital and that means no drinking or eating the night before.

The recovery after having a child's tonsils removed will be a tough one. The pain can be quite severe and it will be quite painful to swallow. You can give your child ice-cream (cold can help the post-operation swelling so subside a bit and also help numb the pain) to help soothe the throat and drink as much water as bearable in the first 2 days. After that, the child may attempt to eat some softer foods like pasta, porridge or mashed potatoes. - 30540

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