A swollen gland refers to a swollen lymph gland or swollen lymph node. Lymph glands are found throughout the body, including in the neck or throat. They help to keep the body healthy by trapping and destroying bacteria, abnormal cells and other foreign particles. There are lymph nodes located on each side of the neck and they can become swollen when there is an infection, injury, abnormal growth or other problem. In order to get rid of a swollen gland in the throat, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause.
Take antibiotics. If swollen glands in the throat are caused by a bacterial infection, it may be necessary to take prescription antibiotics, states the MayoClinic.com.
Before taking any medication, always talk to a doctor first to make sure that there will be no negative interactions with other medications being taken. Taking medication can be combined with placing a hot compress or towel soaked with warm water on the throat to ease soreness.
Gargle with salt water and drink warm liquids. Swollen lymph glands in the neck can also be a warning sign of tonsillitis, which can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Bacterial causes may require antibiotics; however antibiotics will not treat viral infections.
With a physician's OK, a home treatment to reduce swollen glands can include drinking warm liquids such as teas, soups or broths. Since lemon has antibiotic properties, it can be added to the liquid. Honey can also be added to liquids to help coat the throat. The American Academy of Family Physicians also recommends gargling with 1/4 tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of warm water. The salt will help to absorb excess fluid and reduce inflammation.
If symptoms do not get better in a couple of days or there is a fever over 103 degrees, severe pain, trouble swallowing, difficulty breathing or neck stiffness, get medical attention, as the tonsils may need to be removed.
Try ear drops. Any type of ear infection can also cause swollen glands in the neck. If this occurs, the National Institutes of Health suggests speaking with a health care provider about using ear drops. The drops can help to reduce pain and inflammation and can be either over-the-counter or prescription strength. A doctor may also suggest using a combination of distilled vinegar and water, if there are conditions that prohibit the use of drops. It is always best to seek medical advice as ear infections can become serious and cause hearing loss.
Take care of any tooth decay. Tooth decay that is left untreated or an injury to a tooth can lead to a tooth abscess and swollen glands in the throat. As with any infection, antibiotics and warm water rinses can help. In severe cases, either a root canal or tooth extraction may be required. A tooth abscess that is not treated properly can become life threatening, as the infection can spread to other areas of the body.
Always get a proper diagnosis before attempting to treat swollen glands in the throat. Some conditions require medication and others can be treated at home.
Seek medical care if there is severe throat pain, trouble swallowing, drooling, fever and other signs of a serious condition or infection.