Your lymph nodes are essential for helping your body fight off infections, and when these get swollen in times where access to medical care is restricted, you need to know a few home remedies for swollen lymph nodes.
From resting when needed, to taking over-the-counter medications, there’s much you can do to treat swollen lymph nodes without consulting a doctor. Knowing how to diagnose and treat swollen nodes in children and adults is valuable in survivalist situations. Preparing with knowledge and some supplies will help keep you and your family in optimal health.
Lymph nodes function as filters for viruses and bacteria by preventing them from spreading and infecting other parts of your body. Below we discuss how you can keep your lymph nodes performing optimally to ensure that you stay in good health.
The Best Home Remedies
You should always use home remedies with caution, though following guidelines shared but not prescribed by medical experts is your best chance at health in desperate situations. Below we list various home remedies you can follow after considering your particular lymph node situation’s seriousness.
The most obvious treatment, and not so much a home remedy, is taking over-the-counter medications. When you’re faced with swollen lymph nodes, you’re bound to experience tenderness and pain. You can relieve these symptoms with over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you start building a stash of these to use for swelling and other purposes, remember to replace your chosen medication every few years with new ones that have extended expiration dates.
Since your entire lymphatic system mainly consists of water, staying hydrated is a great way to keep it functioning at its best. Dehydration can cause your lymphatic system to slow down, resulting in inadequate waste removal from your lymph nodes. Drinking plenty of water or fresh juice can kick-start the waste removal process again and eliminate swelling. To ensure you stay in excellent health and possibly prevent swollen lymph nodes, it’s best for you to generally increase your water intake and especially focus on this when you’re starting to feel ill.
While you might not feel your best when you have lymph nodes are swollen, going for a short walk can reduce swelling. When you exercise, your muscles work, leading to an increased flow of lymph fluids. These fluids help push swelling away from the affected areas. Remember not to overdo it and listen to your body. Getting adequate rest to help your body fight off infection is just as important.
Doing self-lymphatic massages are another way of treating lymph node swelling. Start by placing your hand near the swollen area. Gently move towards an unaffected area to improve fluid flow away from the affected lymph nodes. The goal is to stimulate the lymphatic vessels’ contractions and move extra fluid into an area where lymph nodes function optimally.
Painful or tender lymph nodes can be relieved by applying a warm compress. To do this, you can dip a cloth in hot water. After it has soaked up the heat, drain the water and immediately press it to the affected area. Once the cloth turns cold, repeat the process. Do this a few times until you feel relieved. You can use a hot-bean bag or heating pad as well. Just make sure that your heat source is warm but not scalding hot.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Since this ingredient will most likely already be in your prepper cupboard, you’ll be happy to know that you can use it to treat swollen lymph nodes. Drinking an apple cider vinegar tonic can help detoxify your body and promote lymphatic drainage. If the area is inflamed, you can soak a warm cloth in apple cider vinegar and place it on the affected area to reduce swelling.
Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Knowing how to treat swollen lymph nodes at home effectively is one thing, but let’s back-peddle and cover what causes lymph nodes to swell in the first place.
The lymphatic areas most commonly affected by swelling are the head and neck, though swelling in your armpits, under your chin, and in your groin area (rarely) can occur as well. Swelling of the lymph nodes can be painful, uncomfortable, and cause other symptoms usually related to colds. Though many different conditions can cause swelling of your lymph nodes, it’s usually attributed to inhibited drainage of bacteria and infections.
Lymph nodes function as a filter to prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading to all parts of your body. After your lymph nodes capture the viruses and bacteria, they need to be drained again. When this doesn’t happen effectively, your lymph nodes swell.
Common infections of the throat, ears, or skin can cause swollen lymph nodes, while uncommon causes include tuberculosis, STDs, and toxoplasmosis. On rare occasions, swollen lymph nodes are a sign of immune system disorders, cancer, and reactions to specific medications.
Swollen lymph nodes aren’t usually a reason for concern since you can experience this simply because your body is fighting an infection or illness. However, enlargement for no apparent reason warrants a doctor’s visit.
If your nodes feel hard or rubbery, are more than an inch in diameter, or are accompanied by a persistent high fever, night sweats or abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss, something more serious could be going on. If you experience any of these symptoms alongside your swollen lymph nodes, seek immediate medical attention.
Can Lymph Nodes Clear on Their Own?
Although the time it takes for a swollen lymph node to clear depends on the underlying cause, it’s common for it to disappear within two to four weeks. Lymph nodes caused by infections usually resolve quickly, while those that don’t seem to resolve after a few weeks should be cause for concern.
Even though you can successfully treat swollen lymph nodes with home remedies, it’s essential to know that lymph nodes left untreated can lead to more severe complications. When swollen lymph nodes aren’t resolved, you can end up with an abscess, rheumatic or scarlet fever, an infection spread to your blood, or toxic shock syndrome.
If you’re using a home remedy to treat your swollen lymph nodes and they still seem enlarged after a few weeks, access medical care, if possible, to prevent severe complications and potentially death.
Do Home Remedies Work?
The answer to this question is yes and no. While many home remedies are recommended by medical professionals and some even backed by scientific studies, they may not always be safe and effective for your situation. Without a proper diagnosis, you won’t truly know if the swollen lymph node you’re dealing with is due to a simple infection or a more serious underlying cause. If it’s due to the latter, no amount of home remedies will solve your issue.
However, under survivalist circumstances, it’s always better to do something rather than nothing. If your access to medical care is restricted, home remedies are your best bet. Preparing to treat this condition will never go wasted as all treatment supplies have multiple purposes. Stock up on a heating pad, over-the-counter pain medication, and apple cider vinegar to play it safe.
If you’re using home remedies for swollen lymph nodes, remember that it may take a few days before you see results. Don’t get discouraged if this happens, and consider trying another method of home treatment before throwing in the towel. The only time for valid concern is if your existing symptoms don’t seem to improve at all or if you’re developing new ones. If you have a family history of lymph node swelling due to serious conditions, it’s also best not to waste time trying to treat it with home remedies.
Though swollen lymph nodes are usually a symptom of an underlying condition, it may not always be a severe condition, and treatment at home without prior consultation with a medical professional is possible. Most swollen lymph nodes tend to resolve on their own, but if you have symptoms of tenderness or pain, it’s best to start treatment in accordance with the pain you’re experiencing. Use and take care of yourself using the remedies for Swollen Lymph Nodes
If additional symptoms appear, don’t seem to improve within three weeks, and after home treatment, it’s best to discard home treatment and seek medical advice. While medical care is still available, it’s best not to leave problematic lymph nodes in your own hands. However, home remedies can be a lifesaver in survivalist conditions.