Baby swollen glands on back of head


What are lymph nodes (glands)?

Lymph nodes are a fundamental part of the immune system. They imitate tiny filters, catching viruses and bacteria for leukocyte to damage. They also produce drugs that help eliminate infection-causing germs.

The body has over 600 lymph nodes These lie all around the body other than for the brain and heart. Most lymph nodes are discovered in groups near the armpit, groin and neck. They are also in the chest and abdominal cavities far from the surface of the skin.

Lymph nodes measure 0.5 to 1.5 cm across, depending on where they lie. In basic, lymph nodes are about the size of a pea.

What are swollen glands?

Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy) occur when the body is combating an infection. Little ones are constantly being exposed to brand-new infections and antigens, so their lymph nodes are often bigger than those of grownups.

You may often hear or make use of the term “swollen glands” to describe swollen lymph nodes. Nevertheless, the glands are not part of the immune system. Their function is to produce hormones that manage different procedures in the body.

Causes of swollen lymph nodes on back of head

Lymph nodes can swell due to the fact that they are reacting to an infection or they are infected.

Reactive lymph nodes

Your child’s lymph nodes will swell in a specific part of the body when they are battling an infection close by. If the lymph nodes are infected by a virus, such as a cold, or a bacteria, as in a strep throat, they can grow to about 2 centimetres in the neck area. This slight enhancement, in addition to moderate tenderness, implies the lymph nodes are responding to the infection and working well to manage it.

Infected lymph nodes

If your child’s lymph nodes are very tender and grow to more than four centimetres and the surrounding skin turns red, the lymph nodes may be ending up being infected themselves. This condition is called lymphadenitis.

Lymphadenitis is treated with antibiotics. Children who have lymphadenitis with a high fever, a great deal of pain and problem drinking or swallowing might need to be admitted to healthcare facility for IV antibiotics (antibiotics provided through the vein).

Other possible causes of swollen lymph nodes

  • Cuts, burns, skin infections, rashes and insect bites may cause lymph nodes to obtain bigger.
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the front of the neck could indicate your child has a cold or throat infection.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin could suggest your child has an injury near their lower abdominal area or legs.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit could imply your child has an injury near their arms or upper chest.
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the back of the neck might indicate your child has an injury on their scalp.

How to treat side effects of swollen lymph nodes


  • Swollen lymph nodes triggered by a viral infection will diminish to typical size on their own in about 2 to 4 weeks. If your child has a bacterial infection, their doctor may recommend antibiotics to treat the underlying reason for the swelling.
  • Prevent squeezing swollen lymph nodes. This might aggravate them further and prevent them from going back to their typical size. In many cases, it can use up to one month or more for the swelling to disappear entirely.
  • Pain or fever

For pain or fever, you can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed on the bottle or by your child’s doctor.

When to see a doctor for swollen lymph nodes

Make a visit with your child’s doctor if:

  • your child has a fever
  • your child establishes a sore throat
  • the lymph nodes (swollen glands on back of head) remain to grow or do not diminish to typical size over a few weeks
  • your child develops uncommon bruising
  • your child is bleeding much more than they should from the nose or mouth
  • your child is reducing weight.

Call 911 or go to the closest emergency department if:

  • the skin around the swollen node is red and painful
  • the node grows to four or more centimetres across
  • a node in the neck is extremely swollen and your child has difficulty breathing or moving their head.

Key points

  • Lymph nodes swell when they are combating an infection.
  • Treatment for swollen lymph nodes depends upon the cause.
  • Swelling due to viral infections, such as the common cold, will disappear on its own.
  • Swelling due to bacterial infections, such as strep throat, will disappear with antibiotics.
  • Offer your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen to deal with pain or fever.
  • See your child’s doctor if your child develops unusual bruising or is losing weight or if their lymph nodes do not shrink after a couple of weeks.


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