Health & Medical Dental & Oral

Kids' Strep Throat: Likely No Need to Lose Tonsils

Kids' Strep Throat: Likely No Need to Lose Tonsils

Kids' Strep Throat: Likely No Need to Lose Tonsils


New Guidelines Also Say Antibiotics Widely Overprescribed for Sore Throat

Most Kids Don’t Benefit From Tonsil Surgery


The revised guidelines recommend against surgery to remove the tonsils of children with recurring sore throats, unless they have complicating symptoms such as obstructed breathing.

Many doctors have recommended tonsillectomy for repeated strep throat infections.

But studies show that tonsillectomies benefit a very small group of people, and these benefits tend to be short-lived, Shulman says.

When strep throat is confirmed and treatment is indicated, the new guidelines call for treating patients with a 10-day course of either penicillin or amoxicillin.

Shulman says these old-school antibiotics are less likely to promote resistance and are a better choice, at least for patients who are not allergic to them. If patients are allergic to them, doctors can prescribe other antibiotics instead.

Ear, nose, and throat specialist Monica Okun, MD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says many patients still expect to go home with a prescription for antibiotics when they go to the doctor with a sore throat, even though most do not benefit from them.

“Every year we see new studies showing the dangers of antibiotic overuse,” she says. “The message is getting out to physicians and patients, but these drugs are still widely overprescribed.”

The new guidelines appear in the October issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.


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