Inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids are very common among children and may occur separately or together. If your child has the following symptoms, you will know that it is more than just a common cold. The symptoms of tonsillitis or adenoiditis are: sore throat, fever, and tiredness. It can be very painful to swallow, more painful than an ordinary sore throat because the tonsils are covered with pus and is swollen. The tonsils can be seen on either side of the throat at the back of the mouth. The lymph glands in the neck may also be swollen.
The adenoids are higher in the throat, and can also cause problems. What is known as adenoiditis causes similar symptoms as that of tonsillitis. A child can also have a sore throat and a fever with adenoiditis. Adenoiditis can also cause headache and vomiting.
Tonsillitis and adenoiditis are usually caused by a virus. It can also be caused by a strep throat infection. Children who have strep throat need antibiotic treatment. Strep throat is more common among children between the ages of four to 11 years of age. Symptoms of a strep throat are: fever of 101 degrees, sore throat, white or yellow coating on tonsils, and swollen glands in the neck.
At one time, surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids were common in children who had frequent sore throats. Presently, it is thought that this lymph tissue may be helpful in filtering infection and should not be removed unless necessary. There can be risks with these surgeries and there should be a discussion with a doctor regarding this matter.
If the adenoids are chronically inflamed, the child may breathe through the mouth, snore, and have a nasal muffled voice. If the adenoids are inflamed, it can block the Eustachian tubes. This can cause a middle ear infection.
A middle ear infection is caused by a bacteria and requires antibiotic treatment. An infection in the ear can also be painful. Symptoms of a bacterial infection in the ear are: earache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, temporary hearing loss, fever, headache, and a runny nose. If a child is too young to talk, parents may become aware that their child is constantly tugging at the ear. This is a sign that there is pain in the ear.
Parents who are not accustomed to this problem may worry that their child may end up with a hearing loss, but the chances are that hearing will be normal when the child recuperates from his/her illness.
It is important to know that tonsillitis, adenoiditis, and middle ear infection are all common diseases and although parents should pay attention to these problems, they should not be over alarmed by them. Tonsillitis can be treated like any viral sore throat.
Source: Kaiser Permanente Healthwise Handbook