Under 18 GP Appointments
We now offer GP appointments for children aged between 1 and 18 via our remote video service (UK wide) and face to face appointments at selected centres. Please note that these appointments cannot be booked online so please call 0330 822 3072 for more information or to book. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm. We may record and monitor our calls. Available from £49.
To book or to make an enquiry, call us on 0343 253 8381∧
You should be able to treat a sore throat at home without needing to see a GP. Most people with tonsillitis find their symptoms improve within a week.
If your sore throat isn’t getting any better after a week, contact your GP surgery. You should also contact your GP if you have:
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing saliva
- difficulty opening your mouth
- a high temperature that won’t go away
- very bad pain, especially if it’s worse on one side of your throat
- a sore throat that keeps getting worse
- one-sided neck or throat swelling
If your child keeps getting tonsillitis your GP may suggest an operation to remove their tonsils. Or the GP may recommend surgery if the tonsils are affecting your child’s breathing. This operation is called a tonsillectomy. Your GP will usually refer your child to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon.
Surgery to remove your child’s tonsils will stop them getting tonsillitis. But it doesn’t mean they won’t get a sore throat in the future. Tonsillectomy does help most children, but the benefit may only be small.
Like all operations, having a tonsillectomy carries some risks. If your child has only mild sore throats, it may be better to wait and see if the problem clears up on its own. Usually, tonsillitis becomes less common as children get older. So having a tonsillectomy may not be necessary.
Every child is different, though. Your child's surgeon will talk through the pros and cons of a tonsillectomy. Then you can both decide whether it’s the best treatment for your child.
Tonsillitis itself isn’t contagious but you can catch the infections that cause it. Tonsillitis is often caused by cold and flu viruses. You may also get tonsillitis if streptococcal bacteria affect your throat.
You catch these infections in the same way you catch a cold. Tiny droplets that pass into the air when you talk, cough or sneeze. You can also catch infections if you touch a surface that’s contaminated with the virus or bacteria.
Tonsillitis usually improves on its own within a week without any antibiotics. You can use over-the-counter medicines to ease your symptoms. Rest and take it easy for a few days and drink plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated. This is particularly important if you have a temperature.
Viral infections cause most cases of tonsillitis. Viral tonsillitis is usually due to a common cold virus, but it may also be caused by other viruses, including the flu virus.
Around one in three cases of tonsillitis is caused by bacteria. Most bacterial tonsillitis is caused by streptococcus bacteria. Streptococcal tonsillitis is most common in children aged five to 15. Viral tonsillitis is more common in younger children.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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