UAE doctors see surge in tonsillitis cases as school year begins

This trend is evident across age groups with the younger population being more affected


Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 31 Aug 2023, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 31 Aug 2023, 9:48 PM

Doctors in the UAE say that clinics are experiencing at least a 30 per cent rise in patients complaining of tonsillitis, especially after the commencement of the new school year.

Healthcare practitioners are observing a daily increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for symptoms such as a sore throat and high fever. This trend is evident among both the younger population and adults, with the former being more affected.

Dr Reem Saleh Khazal, specialist, pediatrics, Burjeel Farha Hospital, Al Ain, said, “Recently we have seen an increased number of children complaining of tonsillitis for the past two weeks. The tonsils fight bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the mouth. Young children often develop viral tonsillitis. Tonsillitis caused by bacteria affects children aged 5 to 15. School children, who are regularly exposed to viruses or bacteria when mingling with their friends are more susceptible to tonsillitis. Approximately 30 per cent of cases in the out-patient clinic are tonsillitis.”


Contagious diseases

They explain viral and bacterial tonsillitis are contagious diseases. Therefore, to protect children from it one must ensure they adhere to good hygiene practices at home.

Some necessary precautions are frequent hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating, and not sharing drinking glasses or bottles with friends.

Dr Osama Elsayed Rezk Elassy, clinical assistant professor, consultant, and head of division, centre for pediatrics and neonatology, Thumbay University Hospital, said, “We are seeing a rise in cases of common cold and tonsillitis that can be attributed to both, the return of children to school and the change in season. The significant shifts in routines and exposure to new environments can momentarily impact the immune response of individuals, making them more susceptible to infections.”

Healthcare professionals highlight as the initial adjustment period settles and students become accustomed to their routines, it's likely that the number of cases could gradually decline.

“The human body tends to adapt to new environments and exposures, strengthening immunity over time. Additionally, increased awareness about hygiene practices, and adherence to preventive measures at both schools and home- can collectively contribute to reducing the spread of these infections,” he added.

Flu shots recommended

Medics advise that children aged six months to 14 years receive the annual flu shot between September and October.

“This vaccination reduces flu transmission. For cold or tonsillitis symptoms, it’s highly recommended to consult a doctor ensuring proper diagnosis and guidance for effective management and containment,” said Elassy.

It’s said people returning from vacations are experiencing symptoms such as high fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes on both sides of the neck.

Dr Rafia Owera, specialist pediatrician, at Prime Medical Center Jumeirah, said, “I noticed that after people came back from their holidays, there have been more cases of tonsillitis in all ages from two years and above. Children are coming to visit me with a high fever, sore throat, and swollen lymphadenods bilateral in the neck. This is because of streptococcus infection that increases in hot seasons and in crowded places and now, especially, after pupils go back to school because some children do not take care of hand hygiene. 25 percent of my patients have streptococcus tonsillitis.

“Also, I had many cases of Influenza A and Influenza B in my clinic. Another 25 percent of patients suffer from Influenza A or B. Therefore, I would advise parents to give the Influenza vaccine to all children,” added Owera.


Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 31 Aug 2023, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 31 Aug 2023, 9:48 PM

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