How to Treat Infected Lymph Nodes

People or children who experience swollen lymph nodes for the first time may find it alarming. In severe cases, swollen nodes may mean that cancer cells have begun to invade the nodes. In most cases though, inflamed lymph nodes are simply a sign that they are trying to fight an infection in your body. 


Viral, bacterial or even fungal infections can cause lymph nodes to swell. This is because the lymphocytes in the nodes increase in number so they can deal with the invading bodies. The firs thing that you have to do even before considering treatment is to make sure that you really have an infection. You may think that having fever is immediately a sign that you indeed have an infection. Prolonged fever however with other symptoms like nausea and chills may be a sign of a more serious condition. 


The location of the swollen lymph nodes may give you a clue about which part of the body is infected. The major clusters of lymph nodes can be found in the groin, neck and arm pit areas. These lymph node clusters filter the lymph fluid from the specific organs or areas near them. Swollen lymph nodes in certain areas of the neck for example may mean that you may have a throat, scalp or respiratory tract infection. 

Common conditions that make lymph nodes swell include measles, sore throat, colds, mumps, abscessed tooth, herpes, syphilis, ingrown nails, ear infections and infected wounds. Do not leave infections to heal on their own. This may result in the bacteria progressing to your bloodstream. Your condition could easily become life threatening. 

Size of Infected Node

Some of us may be able to feel our lymph nodes by gently pressing on lymph node areas. Usually though these nodes stay out of sight. Your lymph node may be infected if it seems to protrude from the skin and grows to more than half an inch. Sometimes they may not cause pain but more advanced infections can result in pain, redness and tenderness. 

Even after your infection goes away, your lymph nodes may still remain swollen for some time but with little or no pain. They will eventually return to their original sizes after a few weeks. 


You can treat infected nodes by treating the infection itself. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend antibiotics and over the counter pain relievers. Certain conditions like syphilis and respiratory tract infection may require special types of strong medication prescribed by your doctor. Be very careful with dosages and medicine types if you are medicating a child. Remember too that the full duration of antibiotic treatment should be finished even if you get better before the prescribed duration is done. Taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed will help eliminate all remaining traces of bacterial infection. 

Applying some hot compress on the swollen nodes may help ease your pain and discomfort but never press or squeeze swollen nodes. Consult your doctor immediately if symptoms recur or show no signs of diminishing.

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