By Wire services
Published November 8, 2005

TONSILLITIS OCCURS WHEN bacteria and viral infection overwhelm the tonsils. Specific symptoms that last longer than 48 hours are a good indication of tonsillitis. These include:

- Red and swollen tonsils, and enlarged jaw and neck glands;

- Severe sore throat and difficulty swallowing;

- Headache;

- High fever and chills;

- Voice changes or loss.

Surgery to remove the tonsils was once the first treatment option. Tonsillitis can be treated with an antibiotic, such as penicillin, taken orally. But if swallowing proves difficult, a doctor can administer penicillin through injection. Oral antibiotics typically must be taken for at least 10 days. If tonsillitis persists despite oral treatment or reoccurs several times in the course of a year, surgery may become necessary. But unlike in the past when a tonsillectomy required a hospital stay, the operation usually is performed on an outpatient basis today.

ALTHOUGH LIVER DISEASE has become one of the nation's fastest-growing serious health concerns - affecting more than one in 10 Americans - many people are not aware how they can contract liver disease or how easily it can be prevented, according to a new public opinion survey released by the American Liver Foundation. "People may have a dangerously misguided sense that "it won't happen to me' because they are not heavy drinkers," said Frederick G. Thompson, president and CEO of the American Liver Foundation. "In fact, the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the United States - and a significantly growing cause of liver cancer - is viral hepatitis," Thompson said. "The reality is that liver disease can be traced to a variety of causes related to family history, reactions to drugs and chemicals, social behavior and hygiene. It is crucial for Americans to become better informed." Today, 30-million Americans suffer from some form of liver disease, and there are more than 100 liver diseases. The survey revealed a lack of knowledge about viral hepatitis, with more than half of those surveyed (54 percent) not knowing that unsafe sex can transmit hepatitis B.

A NEW SURVEY on infant sleep reveals that, according to parents, many newborns to 4-year-olds are not getting the minimum 12 to 15 hours of sleep a day recommended by sleep experts and the National Sleep Foundation, which provided the survey, along with Pampers. Survey results include:

- 98 percent of parents agree their child is happier after a good night's sleep.

- More than 40 percent of infants and toddlers sleep less than the recommended 12 to 15 hours in a 24-hour period.

- Many infants and toddlers (64 percent) experience a sleep "behavior" that may interfere with their getting the recommended amount of sleep at least a few times a week.

- One-half of newborns to 4-year-olds awake at least once during the night and need help or attention.

- 34 percent of parents think a child's sleep pattern disrupts the entire family.

- 71 percent of parents who responded to the survey report they get less sleep than they say they need.