If you are a parent, then you are probably used to your child being sick throughout the year. Children commonly become ill six to twelve times a year until the immune system starts to develop. Most of these illnesses will be caused by viruses, but your child is also likely to develop infections as well. Tonsillitis is one of the most common infections, and your son or daughter's pediatrician can treat the illness with antibiotics. f your child falls ill on the weekend of during a holiday, then you may not be able to make arrangements with the physician right away. This may mean that you need to seek assistance at an urgent care facility if your child shows severe symptoms or complications. Read more about a few of these symptoms below.
When your child has tonsillitis, the tonsils become infected with bacteria and the tissues at the back of the mouth swell. The bacteria generally stay contained within the tonsils, but sometimes the microorganisms spread out to the other soft tissues of the mouth. When this occurs, a small pocket of pus forms and grows close to the right or left tonsil. This pocket or sac is called an abscess.
This abscess will grow in size and eventually burst. When this happens, the pus and bacteria can spread to the lungs, mouth, esophagus, or elsewhere in the body. Before the abscess breaks open, the pus sac may obstruct your child's ability to breathe or swallow.
What You Should Do
If your child complains about an obstruction along the back of the throat or if pain symptoms worsen, then use a flashlight to look in your son or daughter's mouth. The tonsils will appear white and this is normal with tonsillitis. If you see a white protrusion near or on the tonsils, then an abscess has formed. Look closely to see if this abscess is releasing pus. If it is, then take your child to an urgent care center immediately to reduce the risk of a spreading infection.
If the abscess is not releasing fluids, then do not touch the abscess and ask your child not to touch or scratch at the protrusion. Make arrangements to go to an urgent care facility within the next few hours. A physician will likely lance the abscess and the pus will be drained. A syringe is often used to do this, so the pus does not come into contact with healthy tissues.
When young children become ill, they are very likely to develop fevers. In some cases, these fevers can be quite high and they can increase the body temperature substantially. Some children have seizures that accompany these infections, and this can occur when your child has tonsillitis. It is not specifically known why the seizure occurs, but you will see your child convulse and twitch for several minutes. Your child also may vomit or urinate during the seizure. When the seizure is over, your child may feel drowsy. In most cases, only a single seizure will be seen.
What You Should Do
If you see your child having a seizure, make sure to roll them on their side. This will help to keep the airway open so your son or daughter does not choke. This will also help if your child vomits during the seizure. Make sure that all objects are moved away from your child, so he or she does not become injured as they convulse. Do not place any objects in your child's mouth. This can cause damage to the teeth and your child may not be able to breathe when you do this.
Try to time how long the seizure lasts when your child starts to convulse. This is best so you can provide this information to your doctor. When the seizure is over, transport your child to an urgent care facility.
Your child may be watched for several hours to make sure that seizures do not return. This will help to determine whether or not the convulsions were caused by the fever or by an epileptic condition. If another seizure does not occur, then your child may be tested to make sure they do not have a serious infection along with the tonsillitis. If tests indicate that your child is healthy, then pain relievers will be provided to reduce your child's fever. This will help to prevent future seizures that may be triggered by the fever. Antibiotics will also be started immediately.
If your child comes down with a case of tonsillitis and you are unable to reach your physician, then you may need to take your son or daughter to the local urgent care facility. This is especially true if your child has an abscess or a seizure when they are ill.