LYMPH NODES, SWOLLEN
size of a lymph node in the neck, armpit or groin.
Usually larger than the corresponding node on the other side
of the body.
Normal nodes are usually less than ½ inch across (size
of pea or baked bean).
a viral infection are usually ½ to 1 inch across.
Nodes with a bacterial infection are usually longer than 1 inch
across (size of a quarter).
See More Appropriate
Topic (instead of this one) If
node is in the neck and sore throat is the main symptom, see
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR LYMPH
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
looks or acts very sick.
Node in the neck causes difficulty with breathing, swallowing
Fever above 104°F (40°C).
Overlying skin is red.
Rapid increase in size of node over several hours.
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9am and 4pm)
your child needs to be seen.
1 or more inches in size by measurement.
Very tender to the touch.
In the neck and also has a sore throat.
Interferes with moving the neck, arm or leg.
Fever lasts longer than 3 days.
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
other questions or concerns.
Large nodes at multiple locations.
Cause of the swollen node is unknown.
Age under 1 month old.
Parent Care at Home If
swollen lymph node and you don't think your child needs to be seen.
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR SMALL LYMPH
- Reassurance for Normal
If you have discovered a pea-sized or bean-sized
node (smaller than ½ inch), this is a normal lymph node. Don't
look for lymph nodes, because you can always find some (especially in the neck
Reassurance for Swollen Nodes from a Viral Infection: Viral
throat infections and colds can cause lymph nodes in the neck to double in size.
Slight enlargement and mild tenderness means the lymph node is fighting
the infection and doing a good job.
Fever or Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
or ibuprofen as needed for fever above 102°F (39°C) or pain. Otherwise
no treatment is needed.
Avoid Squeezing: Don't squeeze lymph nodes because it
may keep them from shrinking back to normal size. Tell your child not
to fidget with them.
Contagiousness: Swollen lymph nodes are not contagious.
Expected Course: After the infection is gone, the nodes
slowly return to normal size over 2 to 4 weeks. However, they won't ever
Call Your Doctor If:
Node enlarges to larger than 1 inch in size.
Node larger than ½ inch persists for more than 1 month.
Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your
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.
Pediatric HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004
Barton Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
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