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A to Z: Peritonsillar Abscess

A peritonsillar abscess is an area of pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth, next to one of the tonsils.

More to Know

A peritonsillar abscess can be very painful and can make it hard to open the mouth. It can also cause swelling that may push a person's tonsil toward the uvula (the dangling fleshy tissue in the back of the mouth). If this happens, it can become hard to swallow, speak, and maybe even breathe.

The same bacteria that cause strep throat cause peritonsillar abscesses.

Keep in Mind

A child with symptoms of a peritonsillar abscess should see a doctor. If left untreated, the abscess can lead to more serious health problems. Treatment includes antibiotics (often given through an IV) and draining the abscess.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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