Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Swollen lymph nodes caused by a virus may return to normal after the viral infection resolves. Antibiotics are not useful to treat viral infections. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:
- Infection. The most common treatment for swollen lymph nodes caused by a bacterial infection is antibiotics. Over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Aspirin and ibuprofen also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce some of the swelling. Don't give your child aspirin without consulting your doctor because of its link to Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome is a rare, but serious illness that can affect children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection. If your swollen lymph nodes are due to an HIV infection, you'll receive treatment for that condition.
- Immune disorder. If your swollen lymph glands are a result of conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
- Cancer. Swollen glands caused by cancer require treatment for the cancer. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment may involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
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