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Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, the almond-shaped lymph nodes that hang down at both sides of the back of the throat. Infected tonsils are a common childhood problem. The tonsils filter out germs in the throat, but sometimes a virus or bacteria causes the tonsils to swell.
This can make swallowing painful. In fact, one of the signs of tonsillitis is a child who refuses to eat (although not eating can also be a sign of a bad sore throat or other illness).
What you can do
Your child's doctor will have to determine whether this is a case of tonsillitis, and if so, what the treatment will be. For more details, see our complete article on tonsillitis and tonsillectomy.
Since eating can be painful during recovery, offer your child liquids, fruit smoothies, yogurt, and pureed soups. You can try cold drinks or ice pops, which will numb the pain a bit, or warm (not hot), soothing liquids such as broth or tea. A little honey and lemon in warm water makes a comforting tonic.
Note: Don't give honey to a child younger than age 1.