Are you more likely to get chest infections if you’ve got no tonsils?

Your tonsils are part of your body's immune system.

In 2018, a large study hit the press that looked at over one million Danish children and found that there was a link between removal of the tonsils in childhood and contracting upper respiratory tract infections as an adult.

This is a tricky one, because association does not mean causation. In other words, did those children have an underlying issue with their immunity that meant they might have got more infections later anyway?

In any case, we shouldn’t be operating unless we really need to, but that’s always been the case – there are clear guidelines outlining when severity is bad enough to warrant surgery, and the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks.

Asked by: Sally Dawes, Chester

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