- Frequent sore throat and/or
- Breathing difficulties, especially at night
- Ear aches
- Surgical removal of the tonsils, adenoids or both
Frequent sore throat is one of the most common health complaints of childhood. Sometimes the sore throats are accompanied by bothersome ear aches and difficulty in breathing at night. Most often the discomfort is easily traced to two small masses of tissue, the tonsils and the adenoids.
Tonsils are located on each side of the throat. The adenoids lie behind the nose and roof of the mouth. The purpose of each is to protect against germs and infection. When they cease to function properly they may actually hold germs in areas that are tough for medication to reach, resulting in bothersome infections.
Infection causes the tonsils and adenoids to become swollen and sore. The swelling makes swallowing difficult along with the other problems such as labored breathing at night, ear aches and, of course, sore throat. The condition is usually remedied by surgically removing the tonsils or adenoids or both. Removal doesn’t negatively affect the body’s ability to fight off infection.
The surgical procedure takes no more than 30-35 minutes with the patient under general anesthesia. Removal of the tonsils requires a little more time than the adenoids for the patient to get better, but in either case the after effects are minimal. The patient may experience bad breath temporarily, may talk funny, or notice sores on the tongue and a swollen uvula (the little tab of tissue extending downward at the rear of the mouth). Fever may last for up to a week. All post-operative discomfort usually clears up quickly. Should excessive bleeding occur, however, the doctor should be contacted for assistance.
In case of any residual throat and ear pain, the doctor will prescribe medication for relief and may also prescribe antibiotics to guard against infection. The patient will be instructed to eat soft foods only for a few days. Normal activities can be resumed in a few weeks.