Abdominal Pain - Female
Abdominal Pain - Male
Acne
Animal or Human Bite
Antibiotics: When Do They Help
Arm Injury
Arm Pain
Asthma Attack
Athlete's Foot
Back Pain
Bed Bug Bite
Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting
Blisters
Bottle-Feeding Formula Questions
Breast-Feeding Questions
Bruise
Burn
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Chickenpox
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Cough
Coughs: Meds or Home Remedies
Cracked or Dry Skin
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Crying Baby - Before 3 Months Old
Crying Child - 3 Months and Older
Cut, Scrape, or Bruise
Diaper Rash
Diarrhea
Diarrhea Diseases From Travel
Dizziness
Drinking Fluids - Decreased
Dry Skin
Ear - Congestion
Ear - Discharge
Ear - Injury
Ear - Pulling At or Rubbing
Ear - Swimmer's
Ear Infection Questions
Earache
Earwax Buildup
Ebola Exposure
Eczema
Emergency Symptoms Not to Miss
Eye - Allergy
Eye - Foreign Body or Object
Eye - Injury
Eye - Pus or Discharge
Eye - Red Without Pus
Eye - Swelling
Fever
Fever - How to Take the Temperature
Fever - Myths Versus Facts
Fifth Disease
Finger Injury
Fire Ant Sting
Flu
Fluid Intake Decreased
Food Allergy
Foreskin Care Questions
Frostbite
Genital Injury - Female
Genital Injury - Male
Hair Loss
Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease HFMD
Hay Fever
Head Injury
Headache
Heat Exposure and Reactions
Heat Rash
Hives
Human or Animal Bite
Immunization Reactions
Impetigo - Infected Sores
Infection Exposure Questions
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza Exposure
Insect Bite
Jaundiced Newborn
Jellyfish Sting
Leg Injury
Leg Pain
Lice - Head
Lymph Nodes - Swollen
Medication - Refusal to Take
Mental Health Problems
Molluscum
Mosquito Bite
Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel
Motion Sickness
Mouth Injury
Mouth Ulcers
Neck Pain or Stiffness
Newborn Appearance Questions
Newborn Illness - How to Recognize
Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks
Newborn Reflexes and Behavior
Nose Allergy Hay Fever
Nose Injury
Nosebleed
Penis-Scrotum Symptoms
Pinworms
Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
Puncture Wound
Rash or Redness - Localized
Rash or Redness - Widespread
Reflux Spitting Up
Ringworm
Roseola
Scabies
Scrape
Sinus Pain or Congestion
Skin Foreign Body or Object
Skin Injury
Skin Lump
Sliver or Splinter
Sore Throat
Spider Bite
Spitting Up - Reflux
Stomach Pain - Female
Stomach Pain - Male
Stools - Blood In
Stools - Unusual Color
Strep Throat Exposure
Strep Throat Infection
Sty
Sunburn
Suture Questions
Swallowed Foreign Body or Object
Swallowed Harmless Substance
Swimmer's Itch - Lakes and Oceans
Tear Duct - Blocked
Teething
Thrush
Tick Bite
Toe Injury
Toenail - Ingrown
Tooth Injury
Toothache
Umbilical Cord Symptoms
Urinary Tract Infection - Female
Urination Pain - Female
Urination Pain - Male
Vaginal Symptoms
Vomiting With Diarrhea
Vomiting Without Diarrhea
Warts
Wheezing Other Than Asthma
Wound Infection

Resources

Is Your Child Sick?TM


Lymph Nodes - Swollen

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Increased size of one or more lymph nodes
  • Most swollen lymph nodes (swollen glands) are in the neck
  • Also, includes swollen lymph nodes in the armpit or groin
  • It's larger than the same node on the other side of the body
  • Normal nodes are usually less than ½ inch (12 mm) across. This is the size of a pea or baked bean.

If NOT, try one of these:


Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes

  • Neck Nodes. The cervical (neck) nodes are most commonly involved. This is because of the many respiratory infections that occur during childhood.
  • Viral Throat Infection. This is the most common cause of swollen nodes in the neck. The swollen nodes are usually ½ to 1 inch (12 -25 mm) across. They are the same on each side.
  • Bacterial Throat Infection. A swollen node with a bacterial throat infection is usually just on one side. It can be quite large; over 1 inch (25 mm) across. This is about the size of a quarter. Most often, it's the node that drains the tonsil.
  • Tooth Decay or Abscess. This causes a swollen, tender node under the jawbone. Only one node is involved. The lower face may also be swollen on that side.
  • Armpit Swollen Nodes. Causes include skin infections (such as impetigo). A rash (such as poison ivy) can do the same.
  • Groin Swollen Nodes. Causes include skin infections (such as athlete's foot). A retained foreign object (such as a sliver) can be the cause.
  • Shaving. Teen girls can cause low-grade infections when shaving the legs.
  • Widespread Swollen Nodes. Swollen nodes everywhere suggest an infection spread in the blood. An example is infectious mono. Widespread rashes such as eczema can also cause all the nodes to enlarge.
  • Normal Nodes. Lymph nodes can always be felt in the neck and groin. They are about the size of a bean. They never go away.

Lymph Nodes: What They Drain

  • The lymph nodes are filled with white blood cells. They filter the lymph fluid coming from certain parts of the body. They fight infections.
  • Neck Nodes in Front. These drain the nose, throat and lower face.
  • Neck Nodes in Back. These drain the scalp.
  • Armpit Nodes. These drain the arms and upper chest wall.
  • Groin Nodes. These drain the legs and lower stomach wall.

Common Objects Used to Guess the Size

  • Pea or pencil eraser: ¼ inch or 6 mm
  • Dime: ¾ inch or 1.8 cm
  • Quarter: 1 inch or 2.5 cm
  • Golf ball: 1 ½ inches or 3.8 cm
  • Tennis Ball: 2 ½ inches or 6.4 cm

When to Call for Lymph Nodes - Swollen

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Node in the neck causes trouble with breathing, swallowing or drinking
  • Fever over 104° F (40° C)
  • Skin over the node is red
  • Node gets much bigger over 6 hours or less
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • 1 or more inches (2.5 cm or more) in size by measurement
  • Very tender to the touch
  • Age less than 1 month old
  • Node limits moving the neck, arm or leg
  • Toothache with a swollen node under the jawbone
  • Fever lasts more than 3 days
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • In the neck and also has a sore throat
  • Large nodes at 2 or more parts of the body
  • Cause of the swollen node is not clear
  • Large node lasts more than 1 month
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mildly swollen lymph node

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Node in the neck causes trouble with breathing, swallowing or drinking
  • Fever over 104° F (40° C)
  • Skin over the node is red
  • Node gets much bigger over 6 hours or less
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • 1 or more inches (2.5 cm or more) in size by measurement
  • Very tender to the touch
  • Age less than 1 month old
  • Node limits moving the neck, arm or leg
  • Toothache with a swollen node under the jawbone
  • Fever lasts more than 3 days
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • In the neck and also has a sore throat
  • Large nodes at 2 or more parts of the body
  • Cause of the swollen node is not clear
  • Large node lasts more than 1 month
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mildly swollen lymph node

Care Advice for Small Lymph Nodes

  1. What You Should Know About Normal Nodes:
    • If you have found a pea-sized or bean-sized node, this is normal. Normal lymph nodes are smaller than ½ inch or 12 mm.
    • Don't look for lymph nodes, because you can always find some. They are easy to find in the neck and groin.
  2. What You Should Know About Swollen Nodes from a Viral Infection:
    • Viral throat infections and colds can cause lymph nodes in the neck to get bigger. They may double in size. They may also become tender.
    • This reaction is normal. It means the lymph node is fighting the infection and doing a good job.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  3. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Use as needed.
  4. Fever Medicine:
    • For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Note: Fevers less than 102° F (39° C) are important for fighting infections.
    • For all fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
  5. Do Not Squeeze:
    • Don't squeeze lymph nodes.
    • Reason: This may keep them from shrinking back to normal size.
  6. Return to School:
    • Swollen lymph nodes alone cannot be spread to others.
    • If the swollen nodes are with a viral illness, your child can return to school. Wait until after the fever is gone. Your child should feel well enough to participate in normal activities.
  7. What to Expect:
    • After the infection is gone, the nodes slowly return to normal size.
    • This may take 2 to 4 weeks.
    • However, they won't ever completely go away.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Node gets 1 inch (2.5 cm) or larger in size
    • Big node lasts more than 1 month
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2017 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. All rights reserved.

Lymph Node Swelling - Arm Pit

Severe swelling of lymph node(s) in left arm pit (axilla). The child had a finger infection and the lymph node(s) in the arm pit became enlarged to help fight this infection.

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