Helping your body battle infections and other diseases, lymph nodes are bean-shaped, small glands of tissue components of a large lymphatic system. When lymphatic fluid moves through your body, lymphocytes (immune cells) within the lymph glands trap viruses, bacteria and other possibly harmful substances and destroy them. This helps keep these pathogens from spreading any further.
Under normal circumstances, you should not be able to feel your glands. Normally, they are approximately one-half inch in diameter. However, when you or your child fights off an illness, these glands may swell to double or triple their regular size. At this point, they can be felt very easily. Additional signs and symptoms of swollen glands include:
Soft, tender and moveable swollen glands are typically signs of an inflammation or infection. Lymph nodes that are painless, feel hard to the touch and resist movement need further examination by an ear, nose and throat specialist, as they could be warning signs of more serious conditions. The most common causes of swollen glands include:
After the illness has been treated and you feel better overall, your lymph nodes should shrink back to normal. Treatment of your swollen glands tends to be cause-dependent. The following home remedies can prove to be helpful in reducing the pain and discomfort you are experiencing:
There are some symptoms and indications that your swollen glands require treatment from a healthcare professional. Additional treatment may be required if swollen glands are accompanied by:
The majority of cases of swollen glands are no cause for great concern. They usually go away with basic treatment at home. However, the more serious symptoms mentioned above should never be ignored. If you are experiencing persistent or problematic swollen glands, contact our office for an appointment. One of our competent ear, nose and throat specialists can offer you a solution and treatment.
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