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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.