The Body’s Virus Protection
Every day, some viruses could harm a computer. That’s why most machines come built-in with virus protection to screen and eliminate threats. The body works the same way. All over the body lies the lymphatic system, a series of organs, vessels, and nodes. This system is dedicated to trapping and eliminating bacteria and viruses. Lymph nodes are located in the head, neck, armpit, and groin areas. If these nodes become swollen, there could be an underlying issue or infection.
Where the action happens
Lymph nodes in the neck are the most common to appear swollen due to infections. Most viruses and bacteria enter through the nose and mouth. So these neck glands will get the first crack at fighting the intruders. Swollen neck glands are often a sign that the lymphatic system is hard at work. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, coughing, and chills. These are just 3 of many reasons behind enlarged lymph nodes.
1. The case of the common cold
The common cold or flu are two of the main reasons for swollen neck glands. Adults get the cold 4-6 times per year on average. Common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fatigue, excess mucus, and sore throat. However, there are times where the neck glands become enlarged. Swollen lymph nodes mean the lymphatic system is hard at work to fight the unwanted virus. These could remain swollen throughout the flu, returning to normal in a few weeks. The cold is not the only infection to cause this reaction. Tonsilitis, sinusitis, strep throat, tooth infections, and mononucleosis can cause swollen glands.
2. Waging war on the body
The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. So there would be a reaction if there is an immune disorder at play. An autoimmune disease is a circumstance where the immune system starts attacking the body’s cells. Some of these diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and sarcoidosis. Signs of an autoimmune disease can cause lymph nodes to become enlarged.
3. The overwhelming cause of swollen neck glands
Stress and anxiety create a host of emotional and physical reactions. Add enlarged neck glands to the list. While stress is not the exact reason for enlarged lymph, too much psychological pressure can be the catalyst. Persons experiencing stress and anxiety may have a weaker immune system. That means the lymph nodes work a bit harder to repel viruses.
Do any of these signs ring a bell?
Discovering an enlarged neck gland is reason enough to see a doctor. Is the enlarged gland accompanied by fever, pains, or changes in weight? Then schedule a visit with an ENT. If the swollen gland becomes too large, painful to touch, and won’t go down, seek medical help immediately. The reason could be stress, an infection, or one of several other causes, including possible cancer. Better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t ignore the bump
Swollen lymph nodes are the body’s alarm bells that something’s wrong. In most cases, this is just the glands hard at work, keeping the body safe from infection. At the same time, the swollen gland could be the sign of a deeper concern. Seek advice from an ENT who is skilled in identifying and treating the underlying cause.