Lymph node swelling in the child


Lymph nodes are a important part of the human immune system.

A swelling often indicates one in children and also in adults current infection and in many cases does not require treatment.

In rare cases, however, it can be a Indication of a more serious illness that requires treatment so that a doctor must be consulted.

Typical lymph node stations are in the Area of ​​the neck and the Armpits and in the field of strip.

Causes of swelling of the lymph nodes in the child

The most common cause of lymph node swelling in children - but also in adults - is one infection.

There are many different types of infections that can be mild or severe. Often swollen lymph nodes appear, for example, when through a small injury Bacteria in the body have arrived. This can already happen with a scratch as it can occur while playing. The lymph node swelling usually occurs in the Proximity of the area where the scratch is located. If this is on the arm, it may swell, for example one or more lymph nodes come in the armpit area.

Lymph nodes that have swollen from an infection can usually be removed move well against the surrounding tissue, are more likely soft and pressure painful.

Also at more serious infections Like measles or rubella, lymph nodes often swell.

With these two diseases the most common are the Lymph nodes around the neck and neck affected, the swelling usually occurs on both sides. Symptoms on the skin are then typically associated with the swelling reddish rash.

This is a disease that often occurs in adolescence Pfeiffer glandular fever (mononucleosis). This is a Viral infection with the Ebstein-Barr virus. It often shows up through symptoms a flu-like infection resemble, to be added Lymph node swelling, which can appear all over the body, i.e. under the arms, in the groin and on the neck. The disease is usually only treated symptomatically, that means that the complaints are treated, but general therapy is not necessary, the healing comes by itself.

There are numerous other infections that can cause lymph node swelling in children, including the so-called Cat scratch disease, which by infection with Bartonella henselae arises. Triggers are Scratches by cats. Symptoms are mostly above all Lymph node swelling in the neck and under the arms. Therapy does not always have to be given; the disease usually progresses without major complications.

Also the so-called Kawasaki syndrome can with a Swelling of the lymph nodes accompanied. Usually occurs accompanying high fever on, the disease must be treated with medication. In addition to infections, however, malignant diseases can also occur Cancers lead to lymph node swelling in childhood. This includes, for example Group of leukemias (white blood cancer) and Lymphoma.

Lymph node swelling, which tends to increase and persists over a long period of time, as well as hard, painless lymph node swellings that have bonded to the surrounding tissue can be an indication of the presence of cancer.

Diagnosis of lymph node swelling in the child

Often times, a doctor's visit is due to a swelling of the child's lymph nodes unnecessary.

If the swelling goes away on its own after a few days and the child has no other symptoms, it is usually one harmless infection. To step Concomitant symptoms such as a rash or fever, the general condition of the child worsens or the lymph node swelling increases and is hard and coarse so a doctor should be consulted promptly.

Among other things, he will ask for it how long the swelling already exists, whether there were any infections in the area and whether Concomitant symptoms consist. Then the physical examination, in which the doctor assesses both the lymph nodes and the rest of the body.

Maybe a Ultrasound scan of the abdomen are used. Also one Blood collection may be necessary. Here, for example, signs of inflammation appear. Also one leukemia can often be seen in the blood count. In rather rare cases it is necessary to enlarged lymph nodes remove to have them examined.

Accompanying symptoms of a lymph node swelling in the child

The symptoms that accompany swelling of the lymph nodes in children depend heavily on the underlying cause.

If there is a slight infection, there are often no other symptoms. If it is an infectious disease such as rubella or measles, there is an accompanying rash, which usually starts in one place and then spreads over the body and disappears again after a few days.

Fever can also occur here, the general condition of the child can be reduced. In addition to swelling of the lymph nodes, Pfeiffer's glandular fever often leads to flu-like symptoms, fatigue, increased tiredness and possibly an enlarged liver and / or spleen.

However, the child usually does not notice this; it can be noticed during an ultrasound examination of the abdomen. In Kawasaki syndrome there is swelling of the cervical lymph nodes, usually accompanied by a high fever, reddening of the palms and soles of the feet and possibly a rash. The tongue is usually very red and shiny, the lips are red, dry and cracked.

If the leukemia is the cause of the lymph node swelling, the child can stand out as being tired and lacking in drive, bruising quickly and often suffering from infections of the upper respiratory tract. The lymph nodes are usually swollen, hardly movable and not painful.

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The occurrence of painful lymph nodes during viral or bacterial inflammation in the child is often part of the body's immune response and is not dangerous.

If a child is in severe pain, the parents can give paracetamol or Nurofen juice to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation.
The dose must be adjusted based on the child's weight.

As the infection heals, the painful swelling of the lymph nodes should also decrease.
In the case of a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics depending on the clinical findings.

When should i go to the doctor?

Since children are more likely to have harmless infections involving the lymph nodes, especially during kindergarten, a brief swelling of these should not be a symptom, which is why a doctor should be consulted.

However, if an infection is exceptionally severe and the child's general condition is poor, a visit to the pediatrician is appropriate.

In addition, cancer must be ruled out in the case of slowly and steadily growing, non-painful lymph nodes.
A clue for a malignant event is if the lymph node cannot be moved.

Lymph node swelling in a child with a fever

A lymph node swelling in childhood associated with fever is usually caused by an infection. One can local infection for example if a lymph node is inflamed or a systemic infection affects the whole body. Examples include diseases such as Measles, rubella or that Kawasaki syndrome.

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Therapy and treatment of lymph node swelling in children

The treatment of a lymph node swelling depends largely on the Symptoms and the triggering cause.

If the child is not impaired except for the swelling, then as a rule no therapeutic measures respectively.

If there is an accompanying fever, for example Calf wrap alleviate the discomfort somewhat. To do this, towels or washcloths are dipped in lukewarm water and then wrapped around the lower legs. This should lower the fever a little.

If there is a fever, however, the treating pediatrician should also be consulted. This can antipyretic drugs prescribe, for example Paracetamol in tablet or suppository form. The doctor then decides whether further therapeutic measures are necessary.

Infectious diseases such as measles, rubella or Pfeiffer's glandular fever help if a fever is present antipyretic agents such as physical rest and a adequate hydration.

Otherwise: The lymph node swelling should be observed. Does it increase or is it about hard, immovable and painless lymph node swelling, a doctor should be consulted.

The cause of the lymph node swelling is one leukemia, a specialist in childhood cancer (pediatric oncologist) must be consulted, who then decides on further therapy.

Duration of the lymph node swelling in the child

The duration of a lymph node swelling depends heavily on the triggering cause. At a Swelling due to infection this subsides after the infection has ended.

Until it is completely gone, it can several weeks last. If the lymph node swelling occurred as part of a minor injury (scratch), the swelling can already be after 1-2 days be clearly in decline again.

Lymph node swelling in the context of leukemia or lymphoma usually exists over one longer period away, the duration is then also largely dependent on the therapy.

Lymph node swelling in the armpit

In the armpit and under the chest muscle there are numerous lymph nodes that belong to the axillary filter system for the lymph in the human body.

If pathological processes occur in these regions, the lymph nodes swell reactively in the armpit.
This is the case with, for example

  • an infection with Borrelia from tick bites,
  • Glandular fever,
  • Cytomegaly,
  • Measles or also
  • the HI virus.

Can also be the cause of swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit

  • Animal bites,
  • Injuries,
  • Tumors,
  • Lupus erythematosus,
  • Tuberculosis or
  • Be rheumatoid diseases.

Lymph node swelling in the neck

The lymph nodes on the neck are one of the three Major lymph node aggregations.

For example, with infections like a Bronchitis, tonsillitis or with one simple cold swelling.

They can be felt in the area of ​​the side of the neck, the neck, below the lower jaw and above the collarbone. Even with infections like measles or rubella there is a swelling of the cervical lymph nodes. The swelling caused by an infection usually disappears quickly after it has subsided.

But even with cancer such as leukemia (white blood cancer), the cervical lymph nodes can swell, the swelling is then often chronic, i.e. it lasts for a long period of time.

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Swelling of the lymph nodes on the neck

Like the lymph nodes on the side of the neck, the lymph nodes in the neck can contribute Respiratory infections or Infectious diseases like that Pfeiffer's glandular fever or one Rubella infection be swollen. Even with one Cancer the lymph nodes in the neck area may swell.

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Unilateral swelling of the lymph nodes

One-sided lymph node swelling often occurs with one local infection on.

A local infection is present, for example, if the child is injured (a scratch is enough). Bacteria can then enter the body through this injury through the skin. You will then be in the next lymph node station so to speak controlled and the lymph nodes try to close them fight. This causes the affected lymph nodes to swell.

However, if there is one systemic infection So before an infection that affects the whole body, the lymph nodes are often both sides swollen. Examples of such infections are respiratory infections, colds, flu, measles, rubella and Pfeiffer's glandular fever.

Generalized lymph node swelling in children

Generalized lymph node swelling means swelling of the lymph nodes of all lymph node stations, especially in the area of ​​both groins, both armpits and on both sides of the neck.

Such a generalized swelling can have various causes, it is rather rare. One possible cause is, for example, the presence of a HIV disease. But also with the rather harmless one Pfeiffer's glandular fever generalized lymph node swelling can occur.

Lymph node swelling in the groin

In children there is swelling of the lymph nodes in the area of ​​the neck most frequently. But also in the strip swelling of the lymph nodes can occur. The cause can be, for example small injury be. After this has subsided, the swelling usually decreases. If the swelling persists or increases for a long time, a doctor should be consulted.

Lymph node swelling after an insect bite

After an insect bite, lymph node swelling can occur as a reactive immune response of the body.

If someone is allergic to a certain type of insect bite, an allergic reaction with redness and swelling at the puncture site can occur.
This leads to the fact that the vessels of the capillaries become more permeable and more fluid gets into the tissue.
However, this usually entails a congestion of the lymph, which in turn causes the lymph nodes to react and swell.

In some cases, pathogens enter the bloodstream through a sting, which also causes a reaction.

Please also read: Insect bite - first aid and emergency measures

Lymph node swelling after a cold

The most common form of lymph node swelling occurs after harmless bacterial or viral colds.

As part of the infection, the pathogens are transported to the nearest lymph node stations, which are an essential part of the immune defense against the disease. The lymph nodes may swell as a reaction to contact with the pathogen and cause pain. With colds of the upper respiratory tract, neck lymph nodes are particularly affected. Lymph nodes on the neck, behind the ears, around the collarbone or in the armpit can rarely be swollen. After a cold, the swelling recedes.

You might also be interested in this topic: Cold in the baby

Lymph node swelling after vaccination

Vaccinations are an achievement of modern medicine, which has made it possible that far fewer children become ill, die or suffer from infectious diseases.
Despite strict approval conditions, vaccination reactions or complications can occur in rare cases.

Depending on the vaccine, parts of the pathogen are given into the child's organism to activate and train the child's immune system.
An immune response from the body is therefore desirable and part of the immunization in vaccinations.

  • A local reaction can lead to reddening of the puncture site with swelling of the regional lymph nodes.
    This is reported in around 1 in 100 cases and does not require any further therapy.
  • In addition, a vaccine disease can occur 1-4 weeks after a vaccination.
    This means that the disease caused by the pathogens in the vaccination is passed through in a weakened form.

    Mild flu symptoms, increased temperature, skin rashes and also swelling of lymph nodes are observed here.

All of this shows the body's functioning response to invading pathogens.

To find out more about this topic, read our next article at:

  • Lymph node swelling after vaccination
  • Pain after vaccination - what to consider

Lymph node swelling indicating a tumor

The swelling of the lymph nodes can in rare cases be an indication of a tumor in a child.
Inflammation as the cause of swelling of the lymph nodes is much more common, but malignant events must always be considered as a differential diagnosis.

  • With a painless, steadily increasing enlargement of the lymph nodes, a tumor may be present.
  • In addition, poor mobility of the lymph node in relation to its surrounding tissue can be an indication of malignancy.
  • In addition, it is worth mentioning that in the case of tumorous events, the knots are rather rock-hard or rubber-like to the touch.

Unspecific symptoms that indicate cancer are also:

  • Weight loss,
  • increased susceptibility to infection,
  • Bone pain,
  • profuse night sweats,
  • Increase in bruises and
  • a general decrease in general well-being.

However, all of these descriptions of a tumor also apply to the condition of a tuberculosis infection.

Acute leukemia is one of the cancers in children that is associated with swelling of the lymph nodes in 60% of cases.
In order to carry out further diagnostic steps here, the attending physician will first arrange for a blood sample with a blood smear.
However, a bone marrow aspiration is then essential in order to be able to make a definitive diagnosis.