How to Diagnosis a Child's Swollen Tonsils

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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The tonsils are tissue in the back of both sides of the throat that is visible when the mouth is open. The tonsils help the body fight some infections by catching viruses or bacteria and then producing antibodies to combat the problem. Children are prone to upper respiratory infections and other common illnesses, such as colds and allergy symptoms. Swollen tonsils can be a symptom of an infection or other ailment. Being alert to changes in your child's tonsils can help you to know when a doctor's visit is appropriate.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • throat lozenges
  • honey and lemon juice
  • salt water gargle
  • humidifier

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  1. 1

    Look at your child's tonsils with a flashlight. It is important to do this when they are in good health; this will enable you to make a better comparison when they are ill. It is normal for some people to have enlarged tonsils, but infections do increase their size.

  2. 2

    Examine the tonsils for signs of redness and swelling, white bumps, streaks of red or excess mucous build-up. Check for swollen lymph nodes under the jaw area.

  3. 3

    Take your child's temperature. If he or she does not have a fever or severe discomfort, you can try a few home remedies to help with the swollen tonsils. Drinking plenty of fluids, gargling with warm salt water, warming a small amount of honey and lemon juice to drink, humidifying the air, and sucking on a throat lozenge or hard candy can relieve symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic website. Keep your child away from second-hand smoke and have her rest the voice by whispering and talking less.

  4. 4

    Document how many times a year your child suffers from ear infections, strep throat, hoarseness, sore throat and sinus infections. If your child is sleepy most days, it could indicate a problem with the tonsils relating to sleep apnoea. This condition obstructs the airways, thus blocking proper oxygen utilisation. It can be a serious problem if not corrected. Also, be aware of weight gain or loss; this may be a result of painful swallowing or difficulty breathing due to enlarged tonsils, according to the Merck Manual's Online Medical Library.

  5. 5

    Agree to a tonsillectomy if your doctor deems it necessary. Repetitive bouts of colds, ear and sinus infections; sleep apnoea; and pain when swallowing or talking may warrant removal of the tonsils.

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