Raising your children disease-free is the dream of every parent; unfortunately in a crowded, cosmopolitan city such as Hong Kong, where living space is limited and pollution levels scarily high, it is not always achievable. As children grow up, they gradually lose their in-born immunity power, which means from time to time they suffer from sore throats, fevers and difficulties swallowing. These minor symptoms may look like a common cold, but could actually be tonsillitis when examined further. We’ve enlisted the help of Dr. Eddie from the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation to explain what exactly tonsillitis is, who can get it and how to address it:
What is tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils, which are the main organs in lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic system is composed of numerous connective tissues and lymphocytes and its major function is to filter lymphatic fluid. When the tonsils, or the clumps of tissue on either side of the throat, become infected by bacterial pathogens, the reaction causes symptoms such as a sore throat, fever and difficulties in swallowing.
Who gets tonsillitis?
Tonsils are comparatively more active when an individual is at his/her nursery stage. As the individual grows up the tonsils will shrink. During childhood if tonsils are too large in size, they will cause glandular fossa between the throat wall that may trap bacteria, which means the individual is more easily to be infected. This is why there seems to be a higher rate of children suffering from tonsillitis, although tonsillitis is not uncommon in adults.
How to treat tonsillitis
Most of the causes of tonsillitis are infections from filterable viruses. To ease the symptoms the child should drink more water, rest and take pain-killers and/or antipyretic prescribed by doctors. If a streptococcal infection develops antibiotics are necessary. One thing to note: any medical treatment relating to antibiotics must be prescribed by a doctor, otherwise an inappropriate use of antibiotics may affect the medical treatment and may cause a resistance to antibiotics.
Older children, whose tonsils are repeatedly infected or whose respiration is affected due to continuous symptoms, may experience a negative effect on sleep, learning and growth. In addition, there can be cases of middle ear effusion caused by the blockage of the Eustachian tube. Conical Tonsillitis can cause infections to nearby organisms which can result in Chronic Pharyngitis, Sinusitis and Tympanitis. In such cases one may be advised to operate after a doctor’s consultation, which is called a tonsillectomy.
What are the long-term effects of tonsillitis?
Some parents may be concerned that if a child has his/her tonsils removed, relevant protection to the body may be reduced. The fact is that even if the tonsils have been removed, there are still a lot of small lymphatic tissues in the throat to maintain immunity; therefore a tonsillectomy will not affect the overall health of children.
If you are concerned that your child has tonsillitis, please consult your doctor.