The treatment for tonsillitis will vary depending on the cause. In order to determine the cause, your doctor may perform a throat swab culture. This test involves gently swabbing the back of the throat close to the tonsils with a cotton swab. A lab test can detect a bacterial infection. A viral infection won’t show on the test, but may be assumed if the test for bacteria is negative.
If tests reveal that bacteria are present, treatment may consist of antibiotics to cure the infection. Although symptoms will likely improve two or three days after starting the antibiotic, it’s important to take all the medication your doctor prescribes to make sure the bacteria are gone.
If the tonsillitis is revealed to be caused by a virus, then antibiotics will not be effective in treatment and your body will fight off the infection on its own. In the meantime, there are things you can do to lessen symptoms. These include:
· Get enough rest
· Drink warm or very cold fluids, which will ease throat pain
· Eat smooth foods, such as flavoured jellies, ice cream or apple puree
· Use a cool-mist vaporiser or humidifier in your room
· Gargle with warm salt water
· Suck on lozenges (for example containing anaesthetics)
· Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen
If tonsillitis is chronic, your doctor may want to remove your child’s tonsils. The surgery is called a tonsillectomy. The surgery is uncommon in children under the age of three and not widely performed as it was many years ago. These days, doctors realise that the tonsils are necessary to filter out germs and will only remove them in the case of chronic tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is considered chronic when there are seven or more episodes of it in one year or when there are five or more episodes of it within a year for two years straight. There are other symptoms that will lead to a tonsillectomy if they are problematic; trouble breathing, a tumour in the throat or nasal passage, or trouble swallowing.
If a tonsillectomy is necessary, don’t panic. It is a common procedure that is usually done on an outpatient basis. In the case of a toddler having a tonsillectomy, doctors will more than likely keep the child in the hospital overnight.
The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and takes only 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The surgeon will remove the tonsils through the mouth and your child will be put in a recovery room. If all is well, he will be released to go home in a few hours.
After the surgery, your child will have pain in his throat and ears. More than likely, the doctor will prescribe pain medication. You must keep your child hydrated and feed him only clear liquids for the first day, followed by a soft diet. Avoid food or drinks that will sting or burn the throat and keep him home resting for about a week. Your child should fully recover within two weeks.