|Lymph Nodes - Swollen|
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
- Swollen nodes with a viral infection are usually ½ to 1 inch (12 -25 mm) across.
- Swollen nodes with a bacterial infection are usually over 1 inch (25 mm) across. This is about the size of a quarter.
- The cervical (neck) nodes are most commonly involved. This is because of the many respiratory infections that occur during childhood.
- Swollen, tender nodes under the jawbone can be caused by tooth decay or abscess.
- Elsewhere, localized nodes are usually reacting to local skin irritation or infection.
Common Objects Used to Guess the Size
- Pea or pencil eraser- 1/4 inch or 6 mm
- Dime- 3/4 inch or 18 mm
- Quarter- 1 inch or 2.4 cm
- Golf ball- 1 1/2 inches or 3.6 cm
- Tennis Ball- 2 1/2 inches or 6 cm
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 join in normal activities.
|CARE ADVICE FOR SMALL LYMPH NODES|
- 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.
- 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.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
- For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. See Dose Table. Note: Lower fevers are important for fighting infections.
- For ALL fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
- For babies, dress lightly. Don't wrap in too many blankets. Reason: Can make the fever higher.
- No Squeezing:
- Don't squeeze lymph nodes.
- Reason: This may keep them from shrinking back to normal size.
- 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.
- 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.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Node gets 1 inch (2.5 cm) or larger in size
- Big node lasts more than 1 month
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended 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.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/13/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.