After Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy

After Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy

Your child has had surgery to remove tonsils and/or adenoids. Your child will need time to get better. Below are guidelines for your child’s recovery.

Girl sitting in high chair drinking from sippy cup.Pain and Activity

  • Expect your child to have some ear pain for 1–2 weeks.

  • Limit activity for 1–2 weeks or as advised.


Make sure your child gets enough fluids and nutrients. Food and drink guidelines include:

  • Give lots of fluids. Good choices are water, popsicles, and mild juices. (Do not give citrus juice or other acidic juices.)

  • Give soft foods to eat. These include gelatin, pudding, ice cream, scrambled eggs, pasta, and mashed foods.

  • Do not give spicy, acidic, or rough foods. These include fresh fruits, toast, crackers, and potato chips.


Give only medications approved by your child’s doctor. Follow directions closely when giving your child medications.

  • Your child may be prescribed pain medication to help with swallowing.

  • Do not give your child ibuprofen or aspirin. They may cause bleeding. If needed for discomfort, you can give your child acetaminophen instead.

When to Call the Doctor

Mild pain and a slight fever are normal after surgery. But call the doctor right away if your otherwise healthy child has any of the following:

  • Fever:

    • In an infant under 3 months old, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

    • In a child 3 to 36 months, a rectal temperature of 102°F (39.0°C) or higher

    • In a child of any age who has a temperature of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher

    • A fever that lasts more than 24-hours in a child under 2 years old, or for 3 days in a child 2 years or older

    • Your child has had a seizure caused by the fever

  • Severe pain not relieved by medication

  • Bright red bleeding

  • Trouble breathing