How to Know If Your Child Needs to Get Their Tonsils Removed

How to Know If Your Child Needs to Get Their Tonsils Removed

Your child’s tonsils, the pea-sized glands at the top of their throat, have a big job. They’re the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. Sometimes tonsils can swell and turn red as they fight an infection, causing a sore throat and making it hard for your child to talk or swallow.

This condition, called tonsillitis, is common in children over age 2, and it can often be treated at home by drinking plenty of fluids, gargling with salt water, or using over-the-counter pain medicine. In some cases, though, a prescription for antibiotics may be required. And in other cases, especially if they continue to occur, surgical intervention may be needed.

Knowing the difference between when to go with a home remedy, a prescription medication, or when to have your child’s tonsils taken out can be hard. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists can look at your child’s situation and give you guidance. Read on to learn the telltale signs that your child may need to have their tonsils removed.  

Five signs your child’s tonsils may need to be removed

While tonsillitis is uncomfortable, the majority of children fully recover within 7-10 days. Sometimes, however, at-home treatments or antibiotics aren’t enough, and your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of the tonsils. Here are five telltale signs your child may need to have their tonsils removed:   

1. Your child has recurring, severe sore throats

If your child has frequent, recurring cases of strep throat or tonsillitis, your doctor may recommend removing your child’s tonsils. For tonsillitis, doctors usually look for at least seven cases in the past year and 5-6 cases in preceding years. For strep throat, doctors usually look for 4-5 cases in the past year and 6-7 cases in preceding years.  

2. Your child is experiencing long-lasting tonsillitis that doesn’t respond to antibiotics

It might be necessary to have your child’s tonsils removed if they don’t respond to traditional treatments or antibiotics. This is to prevent further complications from severely damaged tonsils. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists will discuss your child’s symptoms with you to gather a full history before discussing a tonsillectomy.

3. Your child starts breathing through their mouth

Chronic tonsillitis causes enlarged tonsils, making your child feel like their nose is plugged. The result? Your child may start breathing through their mouth. This is frequently accompanied by noticeable mouth odor, another sign of infection.

4. Your child starts snoring or pauses breathing at night

When your child lies down at night, swollen tonsils can interfere with normal breathing. As a result, you might notice that your child starts snoring or even stops breathing for short periods during sleep, a condition known as sleep apnea. You might also notice that your child is more restless at night or begins bedwetting.

5. Your child has trouble focusing at school or during regular activities

Because chronic problems with tonsils can affect sleep, you might notice your child is more tired than normal even after going to bed and getting up at the same time. If your child suffers from chronic sore throats and is having a hard time concentrating at school, or is moody and easily frustrated, it could be time for their tonsils to go.  

How do I make the decision?

It’s challenging to know when your child needs to have their tonsils removed, so it’s important to seek medical advice from experienced ear, nose, and throat doctors. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists will evaluate your child’s symptoms to identify the best treatment to ease your child’s pain.

If your child is showing signs that it may be time to get their tonsils removed, we can help. Book an appointment online or over the phone with Call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists today.

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