Posts for: May, 2020
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
May 18, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Everyone is born with two tonsils. These are lymph nodes located right in the back of the throat. They help out the immune system by housing important white blood cells. Even so, the tonsils themselves can become infected, which is known as tonsillitis. The tonsils swell up, causing pain and discomfort. Children between the ages of five and eleven experience it the most. You need to bring your child in to see a pediatrician right away. Tonsillitis is commonly caused by streptococcus pyogenes also known as strep throat.
The Basics of Tonsillitis
Your tonsils work by trapping dangerous viruses and bacteria within. As mentioned before, this can lead them to become infected. Infections are easily transferred between children, with tonsillitis being caused by strep, adenovirus, the flu, and Epstein-Barr virus (mono).
Your pediatrician is highly qualified in treating tonsillitis. That is because almost all cases are found in children. During puberty, the tonsils shrink in size. This makes it much harder for them to become infected. You need to seek medical intervention right away. Infections can become life-threatening if not treated, leading to diseases like rheumatic fever. An even more serious complication is a peritonsillar abscess. The infection spreads beyond the tonsils and swells up the neck and chest tissues. This can block and stop your child’s airways.
Signs of Tonsillitis in Children
In children under the age of two that have problems communicating what is wrong, symptoms manifest in the form of excessive drooling, refusing food or bottles, and fussiness. Expect these symptoms in older children:
- Sore throat
- Noticeably bigger tonsils
- Pain or problems with swallowing
- Yellow or white patches coating the throat and tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Foul breath
- Stiff neck
- A scratchy or rough voice
- Stomach pain
Your pediatrician won’t have any trouble diagnosing your child with tonsillitis. They will first start by asking for a brief history of when your child started feeling sick. The next step is performing a physical exam. The pediatrician will look in the throat, nose, and ears. If strep is suspected, a nurse takes a swab of the throat. A blood test will also be drawn to identify what bacteria or virus is responsible.
If strep or another bacteria is responsible for your child’s tonsillitis, antibiotics are prescribed. It’s important that your child finishes the whole dose. This guarantees that the entire infection is gone.
Parents want the best for their child, which is why check-ups and appointments with their pediatricians are so important. Yet your pediatrician isn’t just available for when your child is sick or has physical ailments. They can also help with mental and behavioral conditions, including the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. If your child struggles with focus, impulsivity, attention, or hyperactivity, schedule them for an evaluation. It’s also important to note that children must be at least four years old for a diagnosis.
The Three Facets of ADHD
There are three parts to pediatric ADHD: impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Each of them is signs and are necessary for a diagnosis. Here is some information about each of them.
Inattention: your child spends a lot of time daydreaming or not paying attention, struggles to listen, is easily distracted, makes careless mistakes, rarely finishes tasks, and is disorganized to the point of losing or forgetting important things.
It’s important to understand that children with ADHD can pay attention, it’s just harder with topics that don’t interest them. They can tune out when tasks get repetitive. Working with them to organize their schoolwork and tasks is essential. Try to provide them with a quiet and calm environment to work in.
Impulsivity: your child can’t wait or acts without thinking, interrupts others, and has problems taking turns.
Children with ADHD have trouble with self-control, which leads to the impulsive characteristics mentioned above. They have a harder time censoring themselves. This results in them invading people's personal space or asking overly personal questions. Impulsivity problems also lead to moodiness and overreactions.
Hyperactivity: your child seems to constantly be moving, without being able to sit still without squirming. They also talk too much and loudly, often playing in areas that aren’t permitted.
It’s normal for younger children to have high energy levels. It’s only when your child seems to be constantly moving that it could be an issue with hyperactivity. When they do sit still, they are still moving. They may tap their fingers, shake their legs, or move their feet.
A diagnosis won’t happen right away. There are many steps in the process before an accurate understanding is available. Your pediatrician will most likely want statements from not just you and your child, but other caregivers and teachers.
At the appointment with your child’s pediatrician, they’ll want you and others to fill out a questionnaire about your child’s behavior. Symptoms need to be present in multiple settings, like at home and school and cause issues at both.
The criteria change depending on your child’s age, so it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your pediatrician will work with you to get an accurate picture of your child’s situation.