Sore Throat Swollen Glands No Fever

Sore throats and swollen gland are no fun! Usually, when you wake up with a sore throat and your glands are swollen, and fever starts, then you are sure you have caught a cold, the flu, or even strep throat. Any of these have other symptoms likeheadache, fatigue, coughing, and body aches. If you have strep you take antibiotics and it goes away in just a few days. A viral illness has to run its course over the next 2 to 7 days. When you have a sore throat, swollen gland but no fever you may start to worry something is wrong. Especially if you don’t have any other symptoms and it lingers on for more than a week. This article will help you understand some of the causes for this.

Sore Throat Swollen Glands with No Fever? What's Causing It?

First let’s take a look at what swollen glands are. This is a condition known as lymphadenopathy, in which your lymph nodes fill with fluid and swell. Your lymph nodes are little organs that are shaped like a bean and their job is to clean out your lymph fluid. You have them all over your body, but the ones in your neck are very easily felt. They help stop the spread of infections and other diseases like cancer.

The fluid is lymph and contains white blood cells, water, fat, and protein. As the blood filters through the lymph nodes, it collects any infectious or cancerous cells and destroys them. When your lymph nodes contain something infectious or cancerous, they swell.

If you develop painful lymph nodes this is called lymphadenopathy. When you have a sore throat, swollen glands,without a fever, you may just have a mild virus if you show other symptoms includinga runny nose, cough, and feeling tired.

If you don’t have any other symptoms, you should get checked by your doctor if it doesn’t clear up in a week or so.

Causes of Sore Throat Swollen Glands No Fever

This is almost always a response by your immune system that it is fighting something off. It isn’t too uncommon to have these symptoms without fever and still have:

  • A common cold
  • Influenza
  • Skin or tissue infection near the swollen gland
  • No cause at all (Doctor unable to find a reason)

However, there are a few causes that can concern doctors. These include:

  • Mononucleosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • Leukemia
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

The good news is that a very small amount of people (less than 1%) have cancer from swollen glands. Let’s take a look at each of these conditions:


This is a viral infection that causes the lymph nodes to swell. Many people who catch mono get a sore throat, but may not have any fever at all. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

Treatment includes bed rest, fluids, and corticosteroids for some people. This virus may take weeks to months to completely clear-up and some lymph node swelling can be very profound.


Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system and can spread to the lymph nodes and the rest of the body. It is highly contagious. It can cause sore throat swollen glands no fever. Other symptoms include:

  • Night sweats
  • Cough
  • Blood in sputum
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Treatment includes Long-term antibiotic treatment, quarantine to the home to avoid exposing others, and possible removal of any affected lymph nodes.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

This virus is spread through contaminated blood and sexual contact. It attacks the immune system making it harder to fight off infection. It can cause the lymph nodes to swell without any fever. Other symptoms include:

  • Sores in mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Headaches
  • Achiness

Treatment of symptoms is lifelong antiviral medications and there is no cure. It can progress to full-blown AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) which is most often fatal.


Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells in the body. Some of the first symptoms aresore throat, swollen glands, no fever, but frequent infections. Other symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Easy bruising
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain

Treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation, and if needed the spleen will have to be removed.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

This is cancer of the actual lymph nodes themselves. It can spread to the spleen, bone marrow, and other organs. Some of the first signs are swollen painful glands, fatigue, and feeling ill. Other symptoms include:

  • Body itching
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Occasional chills and fever

Treatment includes chemotherapy, radiation, and if needed a stem-cell transplant.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

This is another cancer of the lymph system and can happen to people with immune system problems. It can show up as a sore throat, and swollen sore glands, with or without fever. Other symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Seizures
  • Change in personality
  • Abdominal pain
  • Distended abdomen

Treatment is chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions to replace platelets, and stem cell transplant.

When to See a Doctor

As you can see above, some conditions that can cause enlargement of the glands without fever can be serious. It is important to contact your doctor for the following signs:

  • Gland swelling doesn’t go down in a few weeks’ time
  • You have weight loss, night sweats, or start running fever with these symptoms
  • The glands are tender to touch and red
  • You develop a hard knot in a swollen gland
  • Throat swelling affects your breathing (Can happen with mono)

The doctor will run tests to check for a bacterial or viral cause. If either of those are ruled out, the doctor may want to biopsy your glands to check for other causes of sore throat swollen glands no fever. The treatment chosen will depend on what is causing the issue.

Tips for Sore Throats and Swollen Glands

  • Do not play with swollen glands or try to pop them
  • Keep the area clean and dry
  • Use warm compresses for 20 minutes at a time to increase blood flow to the area. This helps move lymph fluid and reduce their size.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing over the lump(s)
  • Gargle with warm salt water for sore throat
  • Take a teaspoon of honey to soothe throat irritation
  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever
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