Most everyone has heard of the tonsils and adenoids, but not everyone understands their functions. They are part of your lymph system and they not only help the body to trap bacteria, but also develop antibodies to fight off infections.
The tonsils are visible at the back of the throat, whereas the adenoids are located high in the back of the nose and aren’t visible to the naked eye. Inflammation, enlargement and infection of the tonsils and adenoids are common in early childhood and often cause frequent doctor visits.
Since throat, sinus and ear infections are a common part of growing up, it can be hard for a parent to know when their child’s chronic woes need further evaluation.
Here are some signs that could signal a problem:
- Recurrent infections or pain in the ears and throat
- Mouth breathing or difficulty breathing through the nose
- Noisy breathing or snoring
- Difficulty swallowing or pain with swallowing
- Restless sleep, daytime fatigue or sleepiness
The first step in treating enlarged or infected tonsils or adenoids is usually a course of antibiotics. If, after several courses of antibiotics, your child is still experiencing problems, your pediatrician may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist for further evaluation.