About Tonsillitis: The Facts

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that causes inflammation. It's most common in children aged three to seven, who have larger tonsils than adults and older children. The tonsils are made of lymphatic tissue; their job is to produce antibodies that fight infections. Ironically, such tissue is quite prone to becoming infected itself.

Many cases of tonsillitis never reach the doctor's office, so there are no national figures on the prevalence of these infections. However, if the results of a recent study from Manitoba of tonsillectomy rates hold across the country, it appears that 50,000 people have their tonsils removed each year. Tonsillectomy (tonsil removal) has always been the most common childhood operation, though it represents a tiny and shrinking fraction of the total number of cases of tonsillitis, and is considered a last resort these days.

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