The nurse is discharging a 5-year-old who underwent a tonsillectomy. What important instruction should the nurse give to the child's parents to prevent further complications?
• Parents need careful instruction concerning the danger signs of hemorrhage, e.g., frequent swallowing, clearing the throat, and increasing restlessness.
• The most dangerous period for the child after a tonsillectomy are the first 24 hours when the clots covering the denuded surgical area are forming, and again on days 5 to 7, when the clots begin to lyse or dissolve. If new granulation tissue is not yet present when the clots dissolve, hemorrhage from the denuded surface can occur.
• Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for 10 days, but non-strenuous activity is acceptable.
• Liquid analgesics are better tolerated than pills or tablets because they are easier to swallow.
• The child should eat an adequate diet, but no evidence suggests a special diet is required. Soft foods may be more comfortable, but mashed potatoes and other options are fine.