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Most children have quite a bit of ear and throat pain for up to 2 weeks after a tonsillectomy. They usually have good days and bad days. Your child's pain may get worse before it gets better. A fever up to 38.9°C (102°F) is common on the day of surgery and the next day. Your child may also have bad breath for up to 2 weeks.
Your child will feel tired for several days and then gradually become more active. He or she should be able to go back to school or daycare in 1 week and return to full activities in 2 weeks.
There will be white scabs where the tonsils were. These usually fall off in 5 to 10 days. You may see some blood in your child's saliva at this time.
Your child may snore or breathe through the mouth at night. This usually stops 10 to 14 days after surgery. The mouth breathing can cause mouth dryness and pain. Place a humidifier by your child's bed or close to your child. This may make it easier for your child to breathe. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.
Your child's voice may also sound odd after surgery. Your child's voice will get back to normal in 2 to 3 weeks.
Nearly all children, even thin ones, lose weight after the surgery. As long as your child drinks liquids, this is okay. Your child will probably gain the weight back in 2 to 3 weeks.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: April 15, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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