Having swollen glands is a sign that one's lymph glands or lymph nodes have been infected. Lymph glands are lumps of tissue in the shape of an oval that can be found throughout the body, such as in the armpit area, the neck area, and the groin area. These contain lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, and their function is to fight bacteria, viruses, and other harmful agents to protect the body. Therefore, these will become infected when one experiences bacterial or viral infections. These infections can be fairly minor like an ear or throat infection, or it can be other inflammatory conditions such as the common cold, tonsillitis, or cellulitis. However, swollen glands can be caused by more severe viral illnesses like rubella and measles and bacterial infections like tuberculosis and syphilis. In addition, some conditions like HIV and lupus, where the immune system attacks the body, can also cause swollen glands.
The main symptom of gland infection is that the gland will to about an inch, which is three times their normal size. The swollen gland will feel soft and tender, and one will feel pain when they press on these glands. The skin over this lymph gland will be red and warm. This swollen gland may even be accompanied by fever, sore throat, and mouth sores. One should immediately consult with a doctor if the lymph gland is hard and won't move, and if it doesn't go away after a few weeks and instead becomes bigger.
Because swollen glands are inflammation of the lymph nodes, one can use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. To alleviate the pain, one can take painkillers like Tylenol. Moreover, one should remember to get lots of sleep so the body time can rest and recover.