Font Size
A
A
A
...
8
...

Tonsillitis (cont.)

Prevention

A wide variety of viruses and bacteria can cause tonsillitis, so the best prevention is to follow basic health and hygiene precautions. The following steps are especially helpful for children:

  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick. If possible, keep your child away from children who are known to have tonsillitis or sore throat.
  • Frequently remind your child about the importance of proper hand-washing, especially when around people who appear sick. Also tell your child not to share toothbrushes or eating utensils with other children.
  • Wash and disinfect surfaces and toys.
  • Teach children to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, preferably using a tissue so that germs do not get on their hands. Also show them how to use tissues to wipe their noses.
  • Carry disposable wipes and a hand sanitizer to clean hands and to wipe off shopping carts or other shared items in public places.
  • Do not smoke around your child.

Home Treatment

The goal of home treatment of tonsillitis caused by a virus is to manage symptoms as the body fights off the infection. It includes measures to ease the discomfort of sore throat and coldlike symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing.

Things that may help you or your child feel better include:

  • Gargling with warm salt water several times a day. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) salt to 8 fl oz (240 mL) warm water.
  • Drinking warm or cool liquids (whichever feels better). These include tea, soup, juice, and rehydration drinks.
  • Eating frozen desserts, such as Popsicles.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medicines (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) to help relieve sore throat pain. Follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of its link to Reye syndrome.
  • Getting plenty of rest.
  • Using a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom.
  • Using throat lozenges to help relieve sore throat symptoms. But lozenges should not be given to young children because of the risk of choking. Also, many lozenges contain unnecessary ingredients that can be potentially harmful.

Cough and cold medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use these medicines, check the label. Antiseptic mouthwashes, decongestants, and antihistamines have not been proved effective for tonsillitis and may result in harmful side effects.2

A sore throat along with sudden fever and swollen lymph nodes, and without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, may point to a bacterial infection. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor to be tested for strep throat, which requires treatment with antibiotics. It is important to get plenty of rest and take all the prescribed antibiotics exactly as directed. Keep your child home from school for the first 1 to 2 days of antibiotic treatment. He or she is still contagious during this time and might pass the infection to others.

Next Page:
...
8
...

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.






Medical Dictionary