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Part 4: Keeping Your Child Healthy  >  The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses  >  Glands in the Neck and Elsewhere

GLANDS IN THE NECK AND ELSEWHERE

Lymph glands, like fever, help us fight infection. 

SYMPTOMS: Tiny pea-sized glands may be seen behind or in front of the neck, and also in other parts of the body like the groin and armpits in young children. They are not painful or tender. The child is otherwise well. These glands do not increase in size but, once noticed, remain for months without causing any harm to the child. They are often secondary to a minor infection in the head, arms or legs. Your doctor will probably ask for no tests in such a case and will just reassure you. More notice is to be taken if glands are suddenly observed in different parts of the body in a younger infant, especially if he also looks pale and sickly.

Serious attention also needs to be given if there is rapid enlargement of a gland or glands, or if a ‘big pea-sized’ or a still bigger gland remains persistently enlarged.


Common Causes

  • Local cause
  • Systemic illness


Local Causes
A sore throat due to a viral or bacterial infection, or infection of the teeth and gums can cause enlargement of the glands in front of the neck. Infection of the scalp over the head like boils and infection secondary to scratching due to lice, dandruff or chickenpox can cause swollen glands behind the neck. Small tender glands in this region can also be seen in viral infections like German measles and big non-tender glands due to glandular fever (also called Infectious Mononucleosis).

Glands in the armpits and groin can be enlarged due to a local infection (injury, boils, cat scratch or chickenpox). A gland just above the collarbone should be taken more seriously. It could be due to an infection in the lungs and more rarely due to a tumour in the chest. Sometimes, it can follow vaccination with BCG.

Tuberculosis can also present as a glandular swelling in different parts of the body. In tuberculosis, there is a significant enlargement of the gland. The swelling often gets adhered to the overlying skin. Sometimes, more than one gland is enlarged in the same region and these glands appear to get matted (stuck) to each other.


Systemic Illness
Viral infections accompanied by a rash (German measles, glandular fever) can result in enlargement of glands in different parts of the body. 

Tuberculosis can present as a localised glandular swelling or as a more generalised disease. 


Rare Causes

Malignant disorders like leukaemia and lymphomas and infections like AIDS are to be kept in mind in any persistent glandular swelling, especially if associated with unexplained fever, severe anaemia, tenderness in the bones, and bleeding from any part of the body.

MANAGEMENT: In any persistent or significant enlargement of glands, your doctor will probably ask for a blood test, a skin test (Mantoux Test), and a chest X-ray. If required, an ultrasonography of the abdomen may be asked for. If no definite cause is found, a biopsy of the gland may have to be undertaken.

Most glands secondary to local causes or glands due to viral infections get better on their own. Sometimes, antibiotics may be required to treat the local cause. Occasionally, the gland becomes severely inflamed with redness being noticed on the overlying skin. It is painful and the child has fever. Besides antibiotics, such children may need hot fomentation and even surgery.




7 March, 2016

 
Part 4
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses

Abdominal Pain
Abrasions or Scratches
Acute Glomerulonephritis
Acute Nephritis
Acute Watery Diarrhoea
Addictions
Adenoids
AIDS
Allergies
Anaemia
Anorexia (Poor Appetite)
Asthma
ADHD
Autism
Backache
Bed-Wetting (Enuresis)
Birth Deformities
Bites and Stings
Bleeding
Bone, Joint and Muscle Injuries
Bowlegs and Knock-Knees
Breathlessness
Bronchiolitis
Burns
Calcium Deficiency
Cancer
Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Chickenpox
Choking
Circumcision
Cleft Lip and Palate
Common Cold
Congenital Heart Disease
Constipation
Convulsions or Fits or Seizures
Cough
Croup
Crying
Cuts
Dengue Fever
Diabetes Mellitus
Diarrhoea, Dysentery ...
Diphtheria
Down's Syndrome
Earache, Ear Infections ...
Electric Shock
Encephalitis
Eye Problems
Fears
Foot Problems
German Measles (Rubella)
Glands in the Neck ...
Headache
Head Injury
Hepatitis
Hydrocephalus
Hypertension
Hypospadias
Influenza (Flu)
Jaundice
Joint Disorders
Kala-Azar
Leptospirosis
Limp and Pain in the Legs
Malaria
Malnutrition (Undernutrition)
Measles
Meningitis
Meningomyelocele
Menstrual Problems
Mental Retardation (MR)
Mouth To Mouth Breathing
Mumps
Nephrotic Syndrome
Nose-Related Problems
Obesity
Pneumonia
Poisoning
Poliomyelitis
Premature Baby
Prolapse of the Rectum
Rabies
Rheumatic Fever
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rickets
Short Child
Skin Conditions
Sleep and Sleep Problems
Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
Splinters
Stammering
Stridor (Noisy Breathing)
Teething and Care of Teeth
Tetanus (Lock Jaw)
Thrush
Thumb-Sucking
Tics
Torticollis
Tracheoesophageal Fistula
Tropical Eosinophilia
Tuberculosis (TB)
Typhoid
Umbilical Problems
Undescended Testis
Urinary Infection
Vaginal Discharge
Vomiting
Wheezing
Whooping Cough (Pertusis)



Part 4
Keeping Your Child Healthy
Choosing A Paediatrician
Proper Use of Medicines
Home Remedies
A First Aid Kit
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses
Psychological Concerns
Managing A Hospital Stay
Emergencies
Prayer And Your Child's Health
The Role of Nature Cure
Homoeopathy
Ayurveda and Child Care
Congenital Heart Disease FAQ
 
Guide to Child Care
Home
Introduction
1 Pregnancy, Childbirth ...
2 The Growing Years
3 Feeding Infants, ...
4 Keeping Your Child Healthy
5 Keeping Your Child Happy
About Dr. R. K. Anand
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