By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute
Most cases of tonsillitis are viral and should not be treated with penicillin. Some cases of tonsillitis are bacterial, for example Scarlet Fever and should be treated with penicillin. If your child has a fever, difficulties with swallowing, dribbles and is hoarse you must call the doctor immediately.
When a child has a sore throat, it is often said to be tonsillitis. Especially children with common cold and influenza complain about a sore throat. Only in every third child, the cause of the sore throat is bacterial and only in those cases penicillin helps.
Tonsillitis begins with a dry throat; later pains arise especially when swallowing. A rise in temperature is common. If you look down the throat, the tonsils are red with white coating. The glands are placed on the side of the throat and often they feel swollen and sore. Tonsillitis is rare with children less than two years old.
A child with Scarlet Fever has tonsillitis, strawberry tongue and a finely dotted red rash. The rash begins in the face and spreads to chest, back and legs. The strawberry tongue appears approximately 4 days after the illness has started. The tongue is red with swollen spots and looks like the surface of a strawberry.