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Tonsil – itis 

Itis – A suffix used in pathological terms that denote inflammation of an organ: tonsillitis.


Tonsils are part of our immune system, which protect and help our body fight infection. Tonsillitis is very common, occurring at any age, however most common in children and young adults.

Most commonly caused by a virus and often preceded by a cold (runny nose, cough and sore eyes). 1 in 7 cases are caused by bacteria, with streptococcus being the most common (also referred to as ‘strep’ throat).


Signs and Symptoms:

  • Sore throat and neck.
  • Drooling in children.
  • Painful to swallow.
  • Fever.
  • Red, swollen tonsils, pus maybe visible.
  • Feeling generally unwell.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Swollen lymph glands (neck region).
  • Paediatrics may complain of tummy pain without having a sore throat and may vomit.
  • Younger children may only have a fever with no other symptoms.


Home Care:

  • Give analgesia for the pain (paracetamol / ibuprofen), always checking the labels prior to administering.
  • Encourage your child to rest.
  • Ensure your child remains hydrated, encourage extra fluids and soft, cool foods.
  • Mouth gargles can be given to the child of suitable age. Warm salt water to relieve the tender throat.
  • Ask your pharmacist about mouth and throat sprays.


Key points to remember:

  • Never give aspirin to a child.
  • Antibiotics will not be prescribed unless a bacterial cause has been identified via a blood tests and mouth swabs.
  • Surgery (tonsillectomy) is only advised if a child has frequent attacks or has breathing problems related to having large tonsils.
  • If your child is having breathing difficulties or is unable to keep down fluids, seek medical assistance immediately. 


The following information comes directly from the Poisons Information Centre. The management and treatment for poisoning is constantly changing, so methods used in the past, may now be discouraged. When you call the Poisons information Centre on 13 11 26  be rest assured that their databases are updated regularly and they will provide you with the latest and most current management for your loved one.

**If the victim has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, ring 000 for an ambulance.

Do NOT ring the Poisons Information Centre.


My child has swallowed a poisonous substance, what do I do? 

DO NOT try and induce vomiting.
Pick up the container and take it to the telephone.
Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 and they will give you advice on how to further manage the situation.


My child has a poisonous substance on their skin, what do I do? 

Quickly and calmly remove the contaminated clothing, taking great care to avoid contact with the poisonous substance. 

Flood the skin with cool running water for 15 minutes. After you have irrigated the area, gently wash with soap and water, ensure you rinse well.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

Managing poisons in the eye

Flood the eye with water. To do this hold the eyelid open and use a small jug, cup or slowly running tap.

Irrigate for 10-15 minutes.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26

Inhaled poison

Take the person to fresh air quickly, without placing yourself at risk.

Open doors and windows wide, if safe to do so.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26


Administering medication to children can be tricky, especially for infants who do not understand the rationale behind mummy or daddy trying to squirt this yucky tasting syrup into their mouth.

When a doctor prescribes medication to a paediatric (baby/child), the dose that is prescribed is based on the paediatrics weight. The doctor will do a simple mathematical equation allowing an appropriate, safe dose to be administered. It is SO important to comply with the prescribed dosage and ALWAYS read and follow directions. If you are unsure, speak with your doctor or local pharmacist. 

Helpful tips for administering oral medications to paediatrics

  • Ensure your child is upright when administering oral medications, never left laying on their back. 
  • Place end of dosage device / syringe in the corner of your child’s mouth. Aim the medicine inside the cheek, not in the front where it can dribble out, or be spat out. To avoid gagging and choking, don’t aim for the back of the throat. 
  • Pretend to give your child’s medicine to a favorite toy or stuffed animal perhaps.
  • A reward for good cooperation may help, perhaps something special, a favourite game, book, special mummy and daddy time.
  • As a last resort, hold your child’s nose. Not only will this force your child to open their mouth, it also will minimise their ability to taste the medicine. 
  • Suppositories, chewable pills or capsules are another option when age appropriate.


  • ALWAYS read directions.
  • NEVER leave medication unattended.  
  • DO NOT give your child another persons medicine.
  • ALWAYS administer medication to your child in a well lit area. Overdosage is very common and the Poisons Information Centre send many children to the emergency department as a result of overdosage.
  • DOUBLE CHECK with another person prior to administering the medication.
  • ALWAYS refer to the medications by their correct name, they are NOT lollies or treats. 
  • If you are unsure, seek advice from your local pharmacist.

Key points to remember

Never use a teaspoon as they vary in size.
Always check expiry prior to use.
If you think your child is having an adverse reaction to the medication, for example vomiting, diarrhoea or a rash, withhold the medication and speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
If the victim has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, ring 000 for an ambulance.
Do NOT ring the Poisons Information Centre.


*Useful link: Children’s Panadol Dosage Calculator