Lymph nodes are small glands that filter lymph, the clear fluid that circulates through the lymphatic system. They become swollen in response to infection and tumors. Swollen lymph glands in the head and neck are normally caused by illnesses such as:
• ear infection
• the cold or flu
• sinus infection
• HIV infection
• infected tooth
• mononucleosis (mono)
• skin infection
• strep throat
HOW IS SWOLLEN LYMPH NODES DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis is done by a GP who would not only do a routine examination but also ensure that a biopsy is done to rule out cancer.
HOW IS SWOLLEN LYMPH NODES TREATED?
Swollen lymph nodes caused by a virus may return to normal after the viral infection resolves. Antibiotics are not useful to treat viral infections. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:
Infection. The most common treatment for swollen lymph nodes caused by a bacterial infection is antibiotics. If your swollen lymph nodes are due to an HIV infection, you'll receive treatment for that condition.
Immune disorder. If your swollen lymph nodes are a result of certain conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
Cancer. Swollen nodes caused by cancer require treatment for the cancer. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment may involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
DID YOU KNOW?
These nodes are usually benign in nature and quite painless but you should get a check up done to be safe.