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Lymphadenopathy

Inflamed nodes themselves are not a major concern, but if you have symptoms of some other condition along with enlarged lymph nodes, discuss this with your doctor.

Certain conditions warrant a call to your doctor:

  • If the swelling of the nodes lasts for more than 2 weeks or you have any symptoms such as weight loss, night sweats, fatigue, or prolonged fever
  • If the nodes are hard, fixed to the skin, or are growing rapidly
  • If you can feel swelling close to your collarbone or in the lower part of the neck
  • If the overlying skin is red and inflamed and you suspect an infection

The diagnosis of swollen nodes rarely requires emergency hospital treatment. The exceptions to this include a growing infection of the skin that requires treatment, a severely infected lymph node that needs to be drained, or severe pain.

Self-Care at Home

Generally, if you have symptoms of a cold or other minor infection for which you may or may not take antibiotics, give the nodes about 2 weeks to go back to normal. No specific treatment is needed.

  • If the nodes are small (less than two cm or three fourths of an inch), are in your groin or under the chin, and you are a young adult, this is considered normal.
  • Children tend to have a more active lymphatic system, so their nodes may feel enlarged.

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