Although recovery time from a tonsillectomy (surgical removal of the tonsils) is generally pretty short–about a week until the throat feels almost normal again, according to clevelandnasalsinus.com–it’s still a good idea to treat the mild pain and irritation. The doctor will prescribe a pain reliever for patients; having an array of home remedies and natural treatments for the side effects of a tonsillectomy can also bring comfort and relief to the recovery process.
When the post-surgery throat is sore, cool liquids can help with dryness and soothe irritation. Iced tea is just right for delivering the important liquids into the patient’s body (doctors recommend 48 ounces of liquid per day for the first four to five days). Liquids are important to ensure that tissues do not become dehydrated and also to flush out any toxins from the body. Iced tea provides mild flavor that can encourage adults and children to drink it more often. The tea should always be served cool rather than cold so as not to aggravate the sensitive tissues and incision areas.
Water and Salt Gargle
Because infection and inflammation are concerns after a tonsillectomy, patients can cleanse the throat without too much irritation using warm water and salt. The key to an effective salt water gargle is the salt to water ratio; too much salt can worsen the problem. Dissolve 2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of baking soda into 1 pint of warm water. Gargle carefully for one to two minutes, then spit out the mixture. Get the solution as deep into the throat as possible—patients should try lowering the “tone” of their gargle to open up the throat muscles. The salt pulls some of the moisture out of the throat tissue and also cleanses any bacteria that may be lingering near the incision.
Many patients also experience ear pain as a result of a tonsillectomy. In order to alleviate this pain, known as referred pain, patients may find that a heating pad set at a low temperature can provide relief. The patient should lie down and place a clean dry washcloth on the side of the face and neck where the pain is. Then, a heating pad can be placed on the cloth so the skin isn’t in direct contact with the heat. The heat can soothe muscle and tissues, causing them to relax and hurt less.
References and ResourcesChildren's Hospital of The King's Daughters: Tonsillectomy
Doctor Hoffman: Saline rinses
Cleveland Nasal-Sinus & Sleep Center: Tonsillectomy