When should my child's tonsils be removed?

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Craig T. Nakamura, MD
Pediatric Pulmonology
Doctors remove children's tonsils when they have recurrent infections or sleep apnea, says Craig Nakamura, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he discusses the change in attitude about this surgery.
Nina L. Shapiro, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Specific guidelines recommend tonsillectomy based on a sore throat -- and a sore throat means strep tonsillitis in this case. Sore throats alone do not necessarily mean that your child needs to have his or her tonsils removed. Three episodes of strep tonsillitis per year for three years, five episodes per year for two years, or seven episodes per year for one year may be an indication that your child would benefit from tonsillectomy. Other associated factors, such as loud snoring, big tonsils, history of mononucleosis, a tonsillar or peritonsillar abscess or other illnesses associated with tonsillitis, may also be an indication for tonsillectomy.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
If your kid is getting more than five or six strep infections a year, it's worth a visit to the ear, nose, and throat doc, or pediatric otolaryngologist, to see if she needs to have her tonsils taken out, as they may be hiding grounds for the little strep buggers. Evidence suggests that removing the tonsils doesn't always fix the problem unless there is a pocket of pus, or abscess, chronically living there, but this is a good reason to talk further with your pediatrician about options. Although untreated strep is highly transmissible, once your child has been on antibiotics for twenty-four hours, she's no longer contagious and can return to school or day care.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

Continue Learning about Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Aside from strep throat, most sore throats caused by are contagious, viral throat infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics. The most common culprits of a viral throat infection include coxsackievirus, mononucleosis, and ...

the flu. Mononucleosis (mono) is a virus that causes symptoms that can last for weeks or months at a time. Viral throat infections are best treated with rest, liquids and other home remedies. If the sore throat causes you to have trouble breathing or a high fever, or results in spots in the back of your throat, call your doctor.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.