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Children's Tonsillitis Often Returns

17% of Kids Studied Had Relapse Within 20 Days of Completing Treatment
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 28, 2006 -- Kids' tonsillitis often returns despite antibiotic therapy, a new study shows.

The researchers, who are based at New York's University of Rochester Medical Center, included Michael Pichichero, MD.

They studied 1,080 children aged 2-18 years who had tonsillopharyngitis (tonsillitis and sore throatsore throat) caused by Streptococcus bacteria.

All of the kids were treated at a private medical practice in Rochester, N.Y. Each received one of nine different antibiotics to knock out the infection.

Within 20 days after completing antibiotic treatment, symptoms returned in 17% of the children.

The relapse rate varied among the antibiotics, ranging from 7% to 25%. But the researchers aren't recommending any particular antibiotic.

Based on the results, tonsillopharyngitis relapse is "not an uncommon event," write Pichichero and colleagues.

Their findings were presented today in San Francisco, at the American Society for Microbiology's 46th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Tonsillitis Prevention

Tonsillitis is most common among kids who are 3 years old-7 years old. Most tonsil infections are caused by viruses, but some types of bacteria cause tonsillitis.

To help prevent tonsillitis, keep your hands clean. Hand washing is an important way to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that cause tonsillitis.

When you're washing your hands, lather up with soap and clean water (warm water, if possible) for 20 seconds. That's how long it takes to sing the traditional "Happy Birthday" song twice.

If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.

Also, avoid prolonged contact with anyone who has strep throatstrep throat and has not been taking antibiotics for at least 24 hours.

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