Pediatric Tonsillitis

This information is useful for children
A girl has her throat examined for pediatric tonsillitis.

Sometimes your child’s sore throat is just a sore throat. Other times, it may be tonsillitis, the medical name for an infection of the tonsils that causes them to swell, making it hard to swallow and leaving the lymph nodes in the neck sore.

Everyone is born with two tonsils, small, oval-shaped glands located at the back of your throat. They contain white blood cells, which help ward off infection; but sometimes, the tonsils themselves can become infected by either a virus or bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial infection in the tonsils is streptococcus pyogenes (group A strep), or strep throat.

Tonsillitis is most common among children between ages 5 and 15, and at Yale Medicine, we have a team of pediatric otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) skilled at diagnosing and treating it. Most cases of tonsillitis do not require a tonsillectomy (removing the tonsils), but if surgery is needed, our physicians are experienced in the latest and most advanced techniques.