Swollen lymph nodes in children can be caused by number of reasons. Here we will discuss about these causes and treatments available.
What are Lymph Nodes?
Lymph nodes are small structures composed of glandular tissue that can be found in different areas of the body such as the neck, armpits and groin. These bean-shaped organs are the main components of the lymphatic system which is the essential part of the immune system.
Lymph nodes mainly consist of lymphocytes which produce antibodies. They act like filters that trap and destroy waste substances and infectious particles from the blood. Therefore, they are vital in providing protection against infections and diseases.
Infections and other diseases can cause lymph nodes to become inflamed and enlarged. This condition is known as lymph adenitis. The location of the swollen lymph nodes helps doctors to make diagnosis of the type of infection that is affecting the body. Causes and Symptoms of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck in Children
The most common causes of swollen lymph nodes in neck in children are infections caused by viruses or bacteria. In the presence of pathogenic organism the lymph nodes in the neck become inflamed and expand due to initiation of the immune response. These lymph nodes enlarge due to increased production of white blood cells that fight the infection.
In children, swollen lymph nodes in the neck are most commonly caused by conditions such as ear infections, common cold, strep throat, sore throat, tonsillitis, infection of the salivary glands, infectious mononucleosis, sinus infection, peritonsillar abscess, inflammation of epiglottis and tooth infection.
Swollen and painful lymph nodes of the neck in children can be also due to chickenpox, measles and mumps. Sometimes, the condition may occur as an adverse effect of vaccinations.
Swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck may occur on one or both side. The symptoms in children include lymph node pain and tenderness, difficulty swallowing, drinking and breathing. Prompt medical help is needed if this is accompanied with fever and redness of the skin over the lymph node. Treatment for Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck in Children
Treatment for swollen lymph nodes in neck depends on the underlying cause. If the condition is caused by an infection, anti-inflammatory drugs can help to clear it up. In severe cases, the affected child may be given intravenous antibiotics. Drainage of lymph nodes may be required if there is accumulation of pus. Persistent swelling of lymph nodes requires a biopsy of the lymph node to determine the cause.