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After Tonsillectomy in Children


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • Your child has signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth or eyes. He may urinate less than usual or not at all.
  • Your child has severe pain.
  • Your child is vomiting.
  • Your child has a fever above 102 degrees, or your child has a low-grade fever for longer than 2 days.
  • Your child has bright red bleeding from his throat, nose, or mouth, or his bleeding gets worse.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often to give it to him. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to safely give this medicine to your child.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for you child at home:

  • Limit your child's activities as directed. Your child will need to rest after his surgery. Ask your child's healthcare provider when he can return to his daily activities, such as school or sports.
  • Give your child liquids as directed. This will help prevent dehydration. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much liquid he needs. Liquids and foods that are cool or cold, such as water, apple or grape juice, popsicles, and gelatin, will help decrease pain and swelling. Do not give your child citrus juices, such as orange juice or grapefruit juice, because they may irritate his throat. Do not give your child hot liquids such as soup or tea. These liquids may hurt his throat.
  • Do not give your child straws for up to 2 weeks, or as directed by his healthcare provider. Drinking from a straw may increase your child's risk for bleeding.
  • Give your child soft foods for 10 to 14 days to decrease pain during eating. Examples are applesauce, scrambled or boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni, and ice cream. Once he can eat soft food easily, he may slowly begin to eat solid foods. Do not give him anything spicy, hot, or with sharp edges, such as chips.
  • Clean your child's mouth as directed. Gently rinse his mouth as directed to remove blood and mucus. The white scabs that will form in the back of his throat will cause bad breath. This is normal. Do not let your child gargle or brush his teeth too hard. This can cause bleeding. Help your child gently brush his teeth if needed.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about After Tonsillectomy in Children (Ambulatory Care)

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