How to treat tonsillitis
How to Cope Before Having Your Tonsils Taken Out
Your tonsils are lymph nodes located on either side of the back of your mouth. They fight infections by trapping bacteria. Occasionally, they get infected and it is necessary to have them removed. If this happens to you, you can control your anxiety by discussing the procedure beforehand with your doctor and using stress management techniques.
Preparing as a Kid
Ask your doctor how much it will hurt.Many children have their tonsils out to prevent them from getting infected. While it is scary and uncomfortable, after you heal you will probably be sick much less often.
- Your doctor will tell you and your parents about what medications you will get to make you sleep during the operation. When you wake up it will be over.
- You will also get medications to prevent it from hurting a lot afterwards while it heals.
Plan to eat cold, tasty treats afterwards.After the surgery eating cold, soft foods will help soothe the wound as it heals. You can ask your parents to stock up on things like:
- Ice cream
Plan quiet activities for afterwards.Most people who get their tonsils out do not need to stay overnight in the hospital. But even when you are at home, you should stay in bed for a few days. After that you will need to play quietly for about two weeks. Activities to plan include:
- Getting movies to watch
- Finding new books to read
- Playing computer games
- Doing arts and crafts
Talk to your parents about your worries.If you have things you are afraid of, they will be able to help explain what the doctor said. They will be able to comfort you and tell you that they will be waiting for you when you wake up after the surgery.
- Many adults also had their tonsils out when they were children. Ask your parents what their experiences were.
Use relaxation techniques.These procedures help you get control of your thoughts. This can help you to stop worrying and feeling panicky. These are some easy methods that you can use when you have a few quiet minutes:
- Deep breathing. During this technique you focus on breathing slowly and deeply. This makes you slow down and fully inflate your lungs. Focusing on it will help you to clear your mind. It is also sometimes called belly breathing because your belly moves as you breathe. When you breathe shallowly, your chest moves.
- Meditation. To meditate, you sit in a comfortable position in a peaceful location. You can also do it while lying in your bed at night. Then try to clear your mind so that you are not thinking or worrying about anything. Sometimes it can help to repeat a word or phrase to yourself over and over again until you feel yourself relaxing.
- Visualizing calming images. This is another meditation technique in which you image a calm place like a beach. In your mind you explore the beach and experience it with all your senses including how sounds, what it feels like, and what it smells like. As you focus on this, you should start to feel calmer.
Preparing as an Adult
Ask your doctor why it is necessary.Your tonsils are valuable for fighting bacteria and viruses in your mouth. Your doctor may recommend having them removed if:
- Your tonsils get infected often. For example, you may need to have them out if you have had more than seven infections in the last year, more than five infections in each of the past two years, or more than three infections in each of the past three years.
- Your tonsils are infected and resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
- Your tonsils are abscessed. The doctor may first try to drain them, but if that doesn’t work, they may have to be removed.
- Your tonsils have become so enlarged that they make it difficult for you to swallow or breathe, particularly while you are sleeping.
- You have cancer in your tonsils.
- You have frequent bleeding from your tonsils.
Discuss the risks with the doctor.It is important that your doctor know your complete medical history so that he or she can plan your procedure and after-care. Give your doctor a complete list of any prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, vitamins, and supplements that you take so the doctor can check to make sure they won’t interact with the anesthesia. You should discuss the following risks with your doctor:
- A bad reaction to anesthesia. Tell your doctor if you have previously had anesthesia and reacted badly to it. Common reactions include headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sore muscles. Knowing your previous reactions will help the doctor to plan your surgery and make any adjustments necessary to avoid it from happening again.
- Swelling. Your tongue and the roof of your mouth may swell after the surgery. If you are worried about this, ask your doctor how you will be monitored during your recovery and how you will be able to notify someone if the swelling is so severe it makes it difficult to breathe.
- Bleeding. Occasionally people have significant bleeding during the procedure or after if the scab comes off before it has finished healing. Tell your doctor if you are taking any medications that may thin your blood. This includes over-the-counter medications containing aspirin, which can interfere with your blood's ability to clot. Your doctor will also want to know if you have any bleeding disorders or if any run in your family.
- Infections are rare, but they can occur. Ask your doctor what the follow-up procedures will be to verify that you are healing properly. Tell your doctor if you have any allergies to medications, particularly antibiotics.
Ask your doctor what to expect.Most of the time tonsillectomies are outpatient procedures. This means that you probably won’t need to spend the night in the hospital. You will receive general anesthesia so you won’t be awake during the operation. The doctor will either cut the tonsils out or use an instrument that uses heat, cold, lasers, or sound waves to remove them. The wound will usually be allowed to heal without stitches. Make sure you understand your doctor’s instructions on how to prepare. Your doctor may tell you to:
- Avoid taking any medications with aspirin for 14 days or more before the operation. Aspirin can increase your risk of bleeding.
- Not eat anything after midnight the day before the operation. It is important that you have an empty stomach for the anesthesia.
Prepare for your recovery.Most people require 10 to 14 days to recover. Make sure you give yourself enough time, particularly if you are an adult. Adults recover more slowly than children. There are several things you can organize ahead of time to make your recovery as easy as possible.
- Arrange ahead of time to have someone drive you to and from the hospital. This is important because beforehand you may be too nervous to drive safely and afterwards you will still be recovering.
- Ask your doctor what pain medications you will be able to take. Many people experience pain in their throat, ears, jaw, or neck. Buy a stock of the medications and put them where you can find them easily.
- Buy bland, soft foods. Make sure your refrigerator is stocked with things like applesauce, broth, ice cream, and pudding. These foods are less likely to hurt as you swallow them. Avoid crunchy, hard, acidic, or spicy foods which may irritate your wound or injure the sensitive areas as they heal.
- Purchase ice pops and store them in the freezer. Getting enough fluids is important, even when it is uncomfortable to swallow. If drinking water is uncomfortable, you may find it easier to suck on ice cubes or popsicles. The cold may help numb your throat.
- Clear your schedule. Give yourself time to sleep as much as you can afterwards. Give yourself the space to avoid going near people who are sick, because you are more vulnerable to infections while you are recovering. Don’t go back to work or school until you can eat a normal diet, sleep through the night and are not taking pain medications. Don’t do athletic activities like basketball, soccer, jogging, or biking for 14 days afterwards.
Ask your doctor what symptoms you should watch for during recovery.Your doctor will likely tell you that you should get emergency medical care if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding. Do not worry if you have tiny dried specks of blood in your nose or mouth. If you have fresh bright red blood that indicates active bleeding, go to the emergency room.
- A fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher.
- Dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include urinating less often, feeling thirsty, feeling weak, having a headache, nausea, dizziness, passing dark or cloudy urine. Children may be dehydrated if they urinate less than three times a day or produce no tears when they cry.
- Difficulty breathing. If you snore or breathe loudly, that is ok. But if you struggle to breath, call emergency responders.
Reduce anxiety by getting enough sleep.Being sleep deprived makes you less able to withstand stress and more vulnerable to worrying. Getting enough sleep will also help your immune system to be at its most effective.
- Adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night.If you are under stress, you may find you need more.
- Try to get extra sleep the night before the surgery so you will be well rested.
Get support from family and friends.They will provide you with love, distraction, and an ear when you need it. Surgery is a time when you will benefit a lot from getting help from loved ones.
- If your family and closest friends live far away, you can stay connected with them by email, phone, letters, Skype calls, and social media.
Use stress management techniques.These methods are designed to help you control your emotions and give you a mental break from the things that are worrying you. Try these different techniques until you find one that works best for you.
QuestionIf I get strep a lot, could I possibly need to get my tonsils removed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it's possible, but you'd have to ask your doctor or consult with an ENT to know for sure.Thanks!
QuestionWhat painkillers would I go home with?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGenerally, acetaminophen or Tylenol is recommended. Naproxen (Aleve), Aspirin, or anything that thins blood is generally warned against and should not be taken.Thanks!
QuestionWill having my tonsils removed make my voice sound weird?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. It is just removing extra in the back of your throat. Your vocal cords do not change.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if they don't give me enough of the chemical that makes me sleep?Community AnswerThen they will postpone the operation. Remember, they are trying to make your operation as safe as possible.Thanks!
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Video: TIPS AND WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER TONSIL SURGERY
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