Peritonsillar Abscess

ExitCare ImagePeritonsillar abscess is a collection of yellowish white fluid (pus) in the back of the throat. This fluid forms behind the tonsils. The treatment is most often drainage. This is done by:

  • Putting a needle into the abscess.

  • Cutting and draining the abscess.


  • If your abscess was drained today:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water for gargling.

  • Gargle the warm salt water.

  • Gargle 4 times per day or as needed for comfort. Do not swallow this mixture.

  • Rest in bed as needed.

  • Return to normal activity as soon as you can.

  • Apply cold to your neck for pain relief.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes at a time, 03-04 times a day.

  • Eat a soft or liquid diet. Drink cold fluids. Cold fluids will soothe and take puffiness (swelling) down.

  • Only take medicine as told by your doctor.

  • Take all medicine as told.


  • You are coughing up or throwing up (vomiting) blood.

  • Your throat pain is severe and pain medicine does not help it.

  • You have trouble talking or breathing.

  • You have trouble swallowing or eating.

  • You find it easier to breathe while leaning forward.

  • You have pain that gets worse.

  • You have pain, puffiness, redness, or drainage in your throat.

  • You have a fever.

  • You become dizzy, have a headache, have low energy, or feel sick.

  • You have signs of body fluid loss (dehydration). This includes lightheadedness when standing, peeing (urinating) less, a fast heart rate, or dry mouth and nose.

  • You start to drool.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help if you are not doing well or get worse.