Tonsillitis Specialist

Christina M. McAlpin, MD

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor located in Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Tonsillitis is a common childhood ailment, but it can strike at any age. If you or your child has a sore and inflamed throat or other symptoms of tonsillitis, you should seek immediate care from expert otolaryngologist Dr. Christina M. McAlpin in Los Angeles, California. If you or your child has trouble breathing or swallowing, go immediately to an emergency room. Otherwise, call Dr. McAlpin’s office or book online to schedule an appointment right way.

Tonsillitis Q&A

by Christina M. McAlpin, MD

What is tonsillitis?

The tonsils are two fleshy tissues on either side of the back of your throat, situated behind the uvula (the part that looks like a punching bag). Tonsils prevent illness by filtering out germs and producing antibodies to help you fight infections.

When your tonsils get overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses, they may become infected and swollen themselves. This is called tonsillitis.

Infected tonsils are more common in children, but they can occur at any age. You can have just one bout of tonsillitis or many recurrences.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

The telltale symptoms of tonsillitis are a sore throat and tonsils that are inflamed and red. Other symptoms include:

  • Tonsils that are coated or patched with white or yellow
  • Throat ulcers or blisters
  • Swollen glands in your neck or jaw
  • Difficulty breathing through your mouth


You may also have:

  • Bad breath
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever or chills
  • Ear pain


Children with tonsillitis frequently have stomach aches. They may also drool, feel nauseated, or vomit.

Should I see a doctor if I have tonsillitis?

If you or your child has difficulty breathing or swallowing, you should seek emergency medical care immediately. If your child is drooling and has a sore throat, you should contact Dr. McAlpin’s office right away.

You or your child should see Dr. McAlpin for a sore throat that persists for more than two days. Other symptoms that require medical care include painful swallowing and extreme weakness, tiredness, and crankiness.

Untreated tonsillitis can lead to serious conditions such as rheumatic fever. Rarely, tonsillitis causes inflammation in the kidneys.

How does an ENT specialist treat tonsillitis?

Dr. McAlpin performs an examination and tests to determine the cause of the tonsilitis. If bacteria cause it, she administers antibiotics to clear the infection.

Antibiotics don’t work on tonsillitis that’s caused by a virus. In this case, Dr. McAlpin recommends at-home care and rest, which help the body to fight the infection. She may recommend herbal remedies to strengthen the immune system and over-the-counter medications to manage pain.

Children or adults who have recurrent tonsillitis may need to undergo surgical removal of their tonsils, a procedure known as a tonsillectomy. Dr. McAlpin avoids tonsillectomy whenever possible because tonsils are an essential part of your immune system.


If you or your child has the symptoms of tonsillitis, don’t delay: Call Dr. McAlpin’s friendly team for evaluation and treatment, or seek immediate medical care.