A nurse is giving instructions to parents of a child who had a tonsillectomy. Which instruction is the most important?

  • drink orange juice to relieve discomfort
  • drink extra milk to relieve discomfort
  • avoid drinking from a straw
  • rinse twice a day with antiseptic mouthwash
Number 3 is correct.
Drinking from a straw is very problematic post-tonsillectomy for two reasons: First, the sucking motion may disrupt the clot at the operative site. Second, insertion of the straw into the mouth may disrupt the clot at the operative site. Orange juice and antiseptic mouthwash will irritate the tissue at the operative site. Milk promotes mucus production, which increases the need to swallow, potentially irritating the operative site. Still, drinking from a straw presents the most potential harm.