While you are probably familiar with tonsillitis, did you know your child’s adenoids can also become infected? Adenoid infections typically only affect children; this is because the tissues begin to shrink around the age of 5 or 6, and are small and insignificant in most people by the time they reach their teens.
What Causes Adenoiditis?
The adenoids are collections of lymphatic tissue located behind the nose and roof of the mouth. They are thought to work to protect the body from infection by trapping bacteria and germs, preventing them from entering the airways.
In addition, they produce antibodies to fight infection. As the immune system’s first line of defense, the adenoids come into frequent contact with germs, making them prone to infection themselves.
Viruses and bacteria, especially the Streptococcus bacterium (responsible for strep throat), are the most common causes of infection. Other causes include adenoviruses, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus (mono), enteroviruses and herpes simplex virus.
What Are the Symptoms of Adenoiditis?
When adenoids become too large, they can block airflow through your child’s nose and lead to mouth breathing, snoring and a dry and sore throat. Yellow or green discharge from the nose can also occur. In addition to swollen adenoids, infected adenoids can lead to middle ear infections, sinus infections, and cough.
How Are Tonsillitis/Adenoiditis Treated?
Diagnosing an adenoid infection requires a thorough history and physical examination including an in-depth exam of the throat and ears. Your child might have a throat swab to test for the presence of strep, as well. Strep infections need to be treated with an antibiotic.
If the adenoids are chronically inflamed and medical treatment doesn’t help, surgical removal (adenoidectomy) might be recommended.
Alternatively, home remedies might be recommended for infections caused by a virus. Your child should get plenty of rest and stay hydrated with fluids. Warm broth or tea and cold popsicles are particularly effective at soothing pain and discomfort.
Pain and fever can be controlled with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen (but avoid aspirin, which can be harmful in children). Throat lozenges or cough drops can be given to children over the age of four.
Call St. Cloud Ear, Nose & Throat for more information or to schedule an appointment. (320) 252-0233