The tonsils, along with the adenoids, are a part of the body’s lymphatic system. The function of the tonsils is to act as a filtration system for the mouth and throat, protecting the body from infection. 

Occasionally, though, when they’re inflamed, they may no longer be able to protect the body. The swelling or inflammation of the tonsils, also known as tonsillitis, is usually a symptom of a systemic viral or bacterial infection. Adults and children alike can suffer from the condition. As a parent, it’s important for you to learn about the symptoms of pediatric tonsillitis so you can address the problem as soon as possible. 

What Causes Pediatric Tonsilitis? 

Tonsillitis in children come with a variety of signs or symptoms. The initial symptom is usually a painful throat with or without fever. The next ones could be a yellowish or greenish discharge from the tonsil, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness in the neck, and even bad breath. 

The virus that causes pediatric tonsillitis may be the same virus that causes the cold sores that most children have when they get colds. The body will fight it naturally, but when the immune system is weakened, it may be unable to do so successfully. A sore throat may also be caused by a bacterial infection, poor oral hygiene, or a genetic predisposition to the condition. 

A pharyngeal culture and sensitivity test can help identify the exact cause of the infection. Because the bacteria involved in tonsillitis are known to grow rapidly without treatment, your child’s immune system may be negatively affected. If the body is unable to fight off the infection, this can lead to a more serious issue. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Pediatric Tonsillitis 

The signs of tonsillitis in children can range from mild to very severe and painful. Parents must therefore understand the common treatment options for pediatric tonsillitis. A crucial step in managing and treating tonsillitis in kids is to be aware of the symptoms, which include the following: 

  • Your child’s appetite and energy levels may start to change. They might feel lethargic and less interested in eating. Also, there could be swelling in the tonsil areas, and your child may have trouble brushing their teeth and coughing. 
  • A sore throat can make your child irritable or have trouble sleeping. Sometimes, children with tonsillitis will be restless at night because they struggle to fall asleep. They may also suffer from ear infections and earaches. 
  • Pediatric tonsillitis may cause fever and chills as the tonsils become red, swollen, and infected. It’s also possible for kids to experience headaches and stomach pain. 
  • A serious sign of tonsillitis in children is labored breathing caused by the swelling of the tonsils and adenoids. Pediatric tonsillitis can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, which is a sleeping disorder that can result in difficulty breathing while sleeping. If your child has any of those symptoms, your pediatrician will most likely recommend that you seek emergency medical attention. It may be necessary for your child to undergo a tonsillectomy to remove the infected tissue. 

Other conditions similar to tonsillitis are upper respiratory infection (URI), strep throat, postnasal drip, deviated septum, sinus infection, and an acute allergic reaction to dust or pollen. Your pediatrician will perform a physical exam to confirm the tonsillitis diagnosis as well as get a blood sample or do a throat swab if needed. A swollen throat left untreated can result in a chronic, recurring infection if not addressed immediately. 

Treatment Options: What To Do If Your Child Has Tonsillitis 

It’s possible to relieve the symptoms of this disease when caught early enough. One of the things you can do to ease your child’s discomfort is to give them warm tea with honey, ice chips or popsicles, and lozenges. Older kids may be asked to gargle with salt water. You can also use a humidifier in the room to provide more comfort. These at-home treatments can help shorten the amount of time the illness is active. 

Antibiotics are used to kill off any harmful bacteria that may be present in the throat or sinus areas. If the infection is severe, your health care provider will likely prescribe your child an antibiotic, unless the tonsillitis is viral. Some doctors will recommend taking over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen to help alleviate the discomfort and pain associated with tonsillitis. 

Your physician may also recommend that you avoid giving your child food or beverages that are known to exacerbate the painful throat problem. In addition, decongestants may be prescribed along with treatment of the tonsils or throat. 


If your child is suffering from a sore throat, there are several ways to manage and treat it. Tonsillitis can be accompanied by other health issues like ear infection and even pneumonia. It’s best to seek medical advice and treatment to make sure no other serious complications can develop. If your child has acute or recurrent tonsillitis, the only way to lower their risks is to bring them to a pediatrician or specialist for a thorough checkup.