Tonsillitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Treatments for Tonsillitis continued...
If the tonsillitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics won't work and your body will fight off the infection on its own. In the meantime, there are things you can do to feel better, regardless of the cause. They include:
- Get enough rest
- Drink warm or very cold fluids to ease throat pain
- Eat smooth foods, such as flavored gelatins, ice cream, or applesauce
- Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in your room
- Gargle with warm salt water
- Suck on lozenges containing benzocaine or other anesthetics
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
When Tonsillectomy Is Needed
Tonsils are an important part of the immune system throughout life, so it is best to avoid removing them. However, if tonsillitis is recurrent or persistent, or if enlarged tonsils cause upper airway obstruction or difficulty eating, surgical removal of the tonsils, called tonsillectomy, may be necessary. Most tonsillectomies involve using a conventional scalpel to remove the tonsils; however there are many alternatives to this traditional method. Increasingly doctors are using techniques such as lasers, radio waves, ultrasonic energy, or electrocautery to cut, burn, or evaporate away enlarged tonsils.
As with all surgeries, each of these has benefits and drawbacks. When considering the procedure, it's important to discuss your options with the surgeon to select the most appropriate one for your child.
What to Expect After Surgery
Tonsillectomy is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia and typically lasting between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. It is most commonly performed in children.
Most children go home about four hours after surgery and require a week to 10 days to recover from it. Almost all children will have throat pain, ranging from mild to severe, after surgery. Some may experience pain in the ears, jaw, and neck. Your child's doctor will prescribe or recommend medication to ease the pain.
During the recovery period, it's important for your child to get enough rest. It's also important to make sure your child gets plenty of fluids; however, you should avoid giving your child milk products for the first 24 hours after surgery. Although throat pain may make your child reluctant to eat, the sooner your child eats, the sooner he or she will recover.