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How can I treat a viral infection which causes swollen glands in the neck?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 336 Questions
Hi I'm female, 38, had a PE 8 years ago and was diagnosed with ME at the same time. Just recently I seem to be getting a virus or something every 2 weeks-starts with a pain at the base of my right shoulder blade, then up into my neck like a stiff neck-the glands on my right side are swollen and it feels as though it's in my ear too-though not like an ear infection-there is pain and tingling all down my right arm. The last time I got it the dr said it's a virus and no antibiotics will help and to take echinacea every day. She also said no late nights or long calls on the telephone-I've done all this so why have I got it again? I used to suffer with bad tonsillitis for a few years in my late teens after having glandular fever-so they took them out when I was 22-I didn't have particular health problems as a child.
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 2 hours later
Hello Marianne,

From the description provided it seems that you probably have naso-pharyngeal inflammation due to a viral infection.

The causes of recurrent viral infections most probably is simply a result of high exposure to other people with infections. The other cause would be severe stress in life.

A rare cause could be a weak immune system (immunodeficiency). There are many forms of immunodeficiency and while some are very severe and life-threatening, many are milder but still important enough to cause recurrent or severe infections. The most common forms of immunodeficiency are caused by defects in your ability to produce blood proteins called antibodies.

General guidelines for determining if a patient may be experiencing too many infections are:

1. The need for more than two courses of antibiotic treatment per year in adults.
2. The occurrence of more than four new ear infections in one year.
3. The development of pneumonia twice over any time.
4. The occurrence of more than three episodes of bacterial sinusitis in one year or the occurrence of chronic sinusitis.
5. The need for preventive antibiotics to decrease the number of infections.
6. Any unusually severe infection or infections caused by bacteria that do not usually cause problems in most people.

In case, you do feel that you have problems mentioned above, you might consult a allergist/immunologist, who can get some basic blood tests and diagnose the probable cause.

I hope this helps.

I shall be available to answer any follow up queries .
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