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After Tonsillectomy in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.


After a tonsillectomy

, your child will have throat pain that may last up to 2 weeks. The pain may be worse in the morning and spread to his or her ears. It may hurt for your child to swallow. He or she may not feel like eating or drinking. Your child will have white patches in the back of his or her throat. These are scabs that will fall off after about a week. Follow care instructions from your child's surgeon or doctor to help your child recover safely from surgery.

Adenoid and Tonsil Removal

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

Seek care immediately if:

Call your child's doctor or surgeon if:


Your child may need any of the following:

Limit your child's activities:

Your child will need to rest after surgery. Ask the surgeon when your child can return to his or her daily activities, such as school or sports.

Give your child liquids as directed:

Liquids will help prevent dehydration. Ask the surgeon how much liquid your child needs. Liquids and foods that are cool, such as water, apple or grape juice, and popsicles will help decrease pain and swelling. Do not give your child citrus juices, such as orange or grapefruit. Do not give your child hot liquids, such as soup or tea.

Do not let your child use a straw for 2 weeks, or as directed:

A straw may increase your child's risk for bleeding.

Give your child soft foods for 10 to 14 days:

Examples are applesauce, scrambled or boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni, and ice cream. Your child may slowly begin to eat solid foods when he or she can eat soft food easily. Do not give your child anything spicy, hot, or with sharp edges, such as chips.

Clean your child's mouth:

Gently rinse his or her mouth as directed to remove blood and mucus. The white scabs that will form in the back of the throat will cause bad breath. This is normal. Do not let your child gargle or brush his or her teeth too hard. This can cause bleeding. Help your child gently brush his or her teeth, if needed.

Follow up with your child's doctor or surgeon as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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