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For many years, children had their tonsils removed even when they caused no problems. Today, doctors still remove more than 400,000 tonsils each year, many for the wrong reasons.

Tonsils should not be removed before age five because they help to kill germs, but after that, they are less important immune factors. Tonsils should be removed when they block breathing or cause sleep apnea, in which children stop breathing at night. The American Academy of Otolaryngology (surgeons) recommend removing tonsils when a child has more than three sore throats a year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (doctors who do not perform surgery) recommends removing tonsils after seven episodes in a year, even though there is little evidence that surgery prevents further infections. Doctors can diagnose a strep throat in the office while the patient waits with a rapid strep test

Checked 8/9/05

August 27th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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