Instructions for Care Following Tonsillectomy

Parents: These instructions will help you help your child recover as quickly as possible.


Pain following tonsillectomy is usually severe and will continue until healing is complete. Give Tylenol tablets or liquid for the pain. Aspirin or aspirin-like medication should not be taken. Some children have ear pain following tonsillectomy. Treat ear pain or ache with Tylenol.

Throat pain from the fourth to the seventh day is usually more pronounced due to drying and stillness of throat muscles. Try to counteract this by having your child chew gum and drink a lot of fluids. You may want to give your child rewards of some kind (stickers on a chart, special video to watch) for drinking lots of fluids.

Fever: Your child may have a fever the first three or four days following tonsillectomy. Tylenol and fluids help reduce the fever.
Bleeding:  If any oozing of blood occurs and does not stop in 10 to 15 minutes, please call TMC or your physician.
Breath: Foul smelling breath or mouth odor may be controlled by drinking fluids and eating enough food. Encourage your child to brush his or her teeth.
Healing: Healing occurs at a different rate in each child. An indication of throat healing is a white membrane. The membrane is normal and will last 10 to 14 days.
Activity: Have your child avoid strenuous activity until the physician has examined the healing. The first post-operative visit is routinely about two weeks following surgery. Following this visit most children will be given permission to start returning to normal activities. Sporting activities are much different from school and social activities and need special discussion.


Encourage fluids but do not force food. While there is throat discomfort, avoid foods such as popcorn, potato chips, tortilla chips or hard cereals. Also avoid spicy, highly seasoned or sour foods.

If your child will not take fluids, notify us immediately. Children can become dehydrated.

To make eating and drinking easier for your child, give pain medication 30 to 40 minutes beforehand.

Chewing sugarless gum prior to attempting drinking or eating will help relieve throat muscle spasm.


Following are some diet suggestions to help plan for the first days after tonsillectomy:

Day 1: Clear liquids tend to be easiest to swallow and digest. Try non-citrus juices, popsicles, Jell-O and non-carbonated beverages.

Day 2: Ice cream, instant breakfast, soft cereal, milk shakes and puddings.

Day 3: All of the above items and mashed potatoes, eggs, milk toast, pancakes and other soft food.

If you have any questions, please call (520) 324-5370.