Q: My 15-year-old daughter has frequent sore throats. The doctor says she has "exudate" on her tonsils, and calls it "tonsil dandruff." Is there such a thing as tonsil dandruff? Is it normal for a teen-ager?
A: We've never heard of "tonsil dandruff." Although exudate (the presence of pus on the tonsils) is a common feature of acute sore throats.
Exudate often needs no treatment. However, its presence on a chronic basis is of some concern. It's not clear from how often your daughter gets sore throats or whether the exudate persists despite antibiotic treatment. Teen-agers who get three or more sore throats (associated with tender swollen glands) per year over several years may be candidates for tonsillectomy.