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I believe that ear, nose and throat specialists do a terrible injustice to their patients by taking out tonsils. It is harmful to remove tonsils before age five because tonsils are an important part of a person's immune system and removing them before age five increases a child's chances of getting serious infections. I often treat recurrent tonsilitis in children with a small dose of Zithromax, twice a week, and they keep their tonsils and do quite well.

One study shows that the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) that causes mononucleosis infects almost all children and that the virus can persist in the tonsils of children who have had mono. Most people who have mono are never diagnosed as having that disease. Thirty percent of the tonsils removed at surgery from children with recurrent tonsilitis are infected with the Epstein Barr virus (1). Another very disturbing study shows that during and after a tonsillectomy, bacteria enter the bloodstream in high concentration, thus increasing a child's chances of getting quite sick after the surgery (2).

1) Detection of Epstein-Barr virus in tonsillar tissue of children and the relationship with recurrent tonsillitis. LH Endo, D Ferreira, MCS Montenegro, GA Pinto, A Altemani, AE Bortoleto, J Vassallo. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 2001, Vol 58, Iss 1, pp 9-15Address Endo LH, State Univ Campinas, Dept Otorhinolaryngol, Pediat Otolaryngol Serv, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL.

2) Bacteremia during tonsillectomy. I Kaygusuz, U Gok, S Yalcin, E Keles, A Kizirgil, E Demirbag. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 2001, Vol 58, Iss 1, pp 69-73Address Kaygusuz I, Firat Univ, Fac Med, Dept Otorhinolaryngol, TR-23200 Elazig, TURKEY

Checked 8/9/05

May 31st, 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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