Swollen lymph node in neck
system. These are also sometimes referred to, erroneously, as lymph glands. However, unlike glands, these nodes do not secrete any sort of substance. Lymph nodes are found in clusters in your head and neck areas, usually in numbers ranging from 500 to 600. The role such lymph nodes play within your body’s system is to act as a filtering device in fighting off nasty viruses, bacteria, and other underlying causes of illness and disease. Common areas where you may discover an inordinate amount of swelling and irritation include your neck, chin, armpits, and groin.
Lymphadenitis – Swollen lymph node in neck
Once swollen, these lymph nodes may also become tender or outright inflamed. This is a condition which is known in the medical field as lymphadenitis. The general course of treatment prescribed for this condition will depend on the underlying
cause. In most common cases, applying a warm compress and taking some common over the counter medications will help. For more serious cases, your doctor may check to see if the swelling conceals a cancer, or some other serious cause.
Swollen lymph node in the neck may be a symptom of your body losing the battle against a serious source of infection or virus and, as mentioned above, it may also (rarely) be a sign of a progressing cancer. Lymph nodes contain white blood cells which are your body’s first line of defense against such invasive elements. These nodes can become enlarged and inflamed when they have to work extra hard and long against such infections as strep throat, viral maladies such as canker sores, serious skin wounds, or even the common cold. You may notice a swollen lymph node in neck if you recently received an ear infection.
During the progress of such an infection, the node in your neck may double its normal size, increasing from a quarter of an inch (its normal proportions) all the way up to half an inch, or nearly a full inch, wide. However, once the infection has run its course, the lymph node will usually decrease back to its normal size.
Treating swollen lymph nodes in neck
As noted above, the application of a warm compress or some common over the counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen will normally be enough to stop the infection and halt the growth of a swollen lymph node in neck. However, you should be strongly advised that, if ignored and left untreated, an infected lymph node may fill with pus and become an abscess, or spread harmful bacteria into the surrounding skin, or even the bloodstream. If this happens, serious illness, discomfort, and potentially permanent damage to one’s health may result.
It should be noted that less common conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are sometimes associated with swollen lymph in neck. Cancer and HIV are rarely causes, but have been noted. The chance of a patient with swollen lymph in neck contracting a cancer from this ailment has been estimated at about one percent, so such instances are rare, but not unheard of.
Should swollen lymph node in neck persist for longer than two weeks, increase its size, or be accompanied by other symptoms such as high fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight gain or loss, you should report immediately to your physician for a check up. If a cause for your illness is not found, your doctor may order a biopsy, blood test, x-rays, or other appropriate studies.
While swollen lymph node in neck is not necessarily cause for panic, it should also never be taken lightly. Use due caution and don’t put off a visit to the doctor if it doesn’t seem to be improving. Remember, your quality of health is in your hands!
Learn more about Hodgkin’s disease here.
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