Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils, (the ball shaped bits at the back of the throat- see pic.)


Tonsillitis is usually caused by a viral infection or, less commonly, a bacterial infection. It is very common in children aged 5-15 years old. (Almost all children will have at least one episode of tonsillitis as they grow up!)



  • sore throat that can feel worse when swallowing
  • high temperature (fever) over 38°C (100.4°F)
  • coughing
  • headache

Tonsillitis is not usually a serious condition but your little one will feel unwell and uncomfortable for around 3-4 days so it’s best to keep them at home and away from pre-school or school.


You’ll only need to visit the doctor if your child:


  • has symptoms lasting longer than four days that show no signs of improvement
  • has more severe symptoms, such as being unable to eat or drink because of their pain, or has breathing difficulties
  • Has a high temperature which is difficult to lower with paracetemol


Tonsilitis can spread easily so it’s important to keep your child away from school or nursery until your GP says it is safe for them to return (this is usually when their symptoms have passed.)


Encourage your child to wash their hands before eating, and after coughing and sneezing to avoid spreading the infection.



There is no specific treatment for tonsillitis, but there are several things that can help alleviate symptoms, such as:

  • paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relieve pain
  • plenty of bed rest
  • encouraging your child to drink plenty of fluids


In some cases antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor.


Your child may not feel like eating, so give foods that are easy to swallow, little and often, such a soups, jelly, rice pudding and (my favourite for poorly poppets) ice-cream!


Unfortunately as with any illness, routines go out of the window so avoid any sleep training techniques and give lots of love, cuddles and TLC when needed.